My Matchday - 248 Weston Homes Community Stadium

Colchester United 1v2 Millwall
League One
Monday 5th April 2010

We continued our Easter break in Essex with a visit to a town which claims to be the oldest in Britain, on the indication it was mentioned by author and natural philosopher Pliny the Elder, who died in AD 79.
Its Celtic name Camulodunum (named after war god Camules) was a powerful settlement for King Cunobelin, who minted coins there before the Roman conquest of Britain in AD 43.
Camulodunum became an established Roman legionary fortress, a colonia and the provisional Roman capital of Britannia until the town was annihilated during Boudicca’s rebellion in AD 61.
Colchester also claims to have the UK’s oldest recorded market and its main landmarks are the 11th century Norman castle, its medieval ruins and significant Victorian architecture.

Colchester United were formed in 1937 and took over the reigns at Layer Road from amateur club Colchester Town, who had played on the ground since 1909.
The ground was originally used by the army stationed at Colchester Garrison until Town bought the site in 1919. Both clubs briefly shared the ground until the Essex FA ordered that both clubs couldn’t exist hand-in-hand, so the amateur club made way for their professional counterparts.
Colchester United progressed from the Southern League becoming a Football League club in 1950. The club played at Layer Road for 71 years, amongst the highlights and my first memory of ever seeing The U’s on TV was overcoming the one mighty Leeds United in the 5th round of the FA Cup in 1971. Don Revies’s men going down 3-2 in front of a crowd of 16,000 and the Match of the Day cameras.

Work began on the Colchester Community Stadium in July 2007, built on the northern edge of the town at Cuckoo Farm off the main A12 road to London, although direct access onto the motorway is still not completed.
The total cost of £14m was mostly financed by the local borough council who own the stadium. Revenue was also raised by the club, with grants from the Football Foundation, local government and the East of England Development Agency.
The stadium is sponsored by Weston Homes in a £2m corporative deal which covers the next ten years and has an overall capacity of just over 10,000.
The stadium was completed in July 2008 with the opening match taking place on the 8th August with Athletic Bilbao providing the opposition, beating The U’s 2-1 in a pre-season friendly.
The stadium consists of four separate stands, the North, South and East Stands are all equal in size with the Main Stand slightly larger comprising of executive boxes, sponsors suites and lounges. There’s a set of skinny floodlights in the open corners with the ground decked out in primarily blue seats and white trimmings. The North Stand is now the away end although Millwall also took up almost half of the East Stand. The South Stand also differs slightly having a large police control box in one corner.

My Essex weekend went from the bottom end of League One at Southend on Saturday to the top end of the table with play off hopefuls Colchester up against Millwall, who are timing there automatic promotion push perfectly with eleven wins out of the last fourteen matches coming into this fixture.
Both clubs seem to be heading in opposite directions as United have now gone eight games without a win as Millwall go marching on thanks to a touch of good fortune, taking the three points thanks to a late own goal by Danny Batth.

The match was finely poised throughout with both teams carving out several good chances in the opening period, but it was Millwall who took the lead just before half time when Steve Morison picked up the ball wide on the right before cutting inside and firing his low shot wide of Williams.
Colchester felt they should have gone in at the break level, however five minutes after the restart they were. Millwall ‘keeper David Forde failed to take a routine catch, allowing the ball to fall to the feet of the lurking Kevin Lisbie who was left with a simple task of knocking the ball into an unguarded net.
Millwall went close with a Morison header, a Schofield effort and a Neil Harris header was cleared off the line, while United had chances through Vincent, Lisbie and a Prutton free kick.
Then on 78 minutes the decisive goal. Substitute Sean Batt’s right wing cross was met by on loan Wolves defender Batth, whose unchallenged looping header gave his keeper no chance.
Millwall saw out the remaining ten minutes with help from the shameless Millwall fans in the East Stand, purposely keeping the ball on five occasions when going out for a throw-in. This added to the home sides frustration with an Izzet free kick the closest they came to grabbing a point.
This win stretches The Lions unbeaten run to nine games, so if this good run of form continues and if I finally get around to visiting The New Den next season, it’s looking more likely to be in the Championship than League One.

Matchday stats
CUFC 1(Lisbie 50) MFC 2(Morison 43,Batth OG78)
Admission £18-£26

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