Date : –  21st July 2021 Kick off : –  19.45
Competition : –  Friendly Venue : –  Colchester Community Stadium
Crowd : –  4,000 approx.
Referee : –  Craig Hicks Linesmen : – Mr. Stuart Butler; Mr. Nick Dunn
Fourth official : – George Byrne
Weather : –  Warm, dry


        Son  10m 44s
        Moura  14m 00s
        Dele  37m 33s
  Wiredu  (foul on Lucas)  58  


29   Shamal GEORGE 41   Alfie WHITEMAN
3   Ryan CLAMPIN  (     TRIALIST B 76) 42   Maksim PASKOTSI  (  60    Brooklyn LYONS-FOSTER  66)
18   Tom EASTMAN  (  43    Harry BEADLE  76) 15   Eric DIER (c)  (  25    Japhet TANGANGA  46)
5   Tommy SMITH  (c) (  27    Cameron COXE  76) 38   Cameron CARTER-VICKERS  (  43    Malachi FAGAN-WALCOTT  66)
4   Luke CHAMBERS  (   2    Miles WELCH-HAYES  76) 44   Tobi OMOLE  (  52    Kallum CESAY  66)
7   Luke HANNANT  (     TRIALIST A  76) 29   Oliver SKIPP  (  57    Nile JOHN  66)
10   Alan JUDGE  (  21    Gene KENNEDY  76) 8   Harry WINKS  (  48    Harvey WHITE  66)
6   Brendan WIREDU    (  22    Junior TCHAMADEU  76)    
8   Cole SKUSE  (  23    Kwame POKU  76) 23    Steven BERGWIJN  (  47    Jack CLARKE  66)
  20   DELE Alli    (  39    Troy PARROTT  66)
11   Freddie SEARS  (  31    Donnell THOMAS 76) 27   Lucas MOURA    (  54    Alfie DEVINE  66)
9   Frank NOUBLE (  41    Sam CORNISH  76) 7   Heung-Min SON    (  53   Dane SCARLETT  46)
Substitutes Substitutes
44   Ted COLLINS 46   Josh OLUWAYEMI


Manager : –  Haydn Mullins Manager : –  Nuno Espirito Santo
Kit Supplier : –  Macron Kit Supplier : –  Nike
Shirt Sponsor : –  TEXO Shirt Sponsor : –  AIA
Colours : – Blue shirts, white neck
Blue shorts, white side
White socks, blue turnover with one white line

Colours : – White shirts
Navy shorts
Navy socks



A strangely populated Colchester United ground sat bathed in the evening sunshine as the second first team friendly of the season kicked off with Tottenham a mix of younger and experienced first teamers and the U’s an almost first team line-up who were to prove that they were willing to impress manager Haydn Mullins with their physical approach.

Having just survived dropping out of the League last season, a paltry turn-out from their fans was probably a keen reflection of their hopes for the coming one.  While the Spurs end was packed, the “almost sold out crowd” as the home club’s website proclaimed featured the home fans crammed into one small section of the East Stand, a smattering in the South stand (with their Ultras assembled in the top corner with their drum) and fans distributed throughout the Main Stand.  Speaking to a steward before the game, he said that the tickets had gone on sale to as many as the club could attract.  Maybe they are not that attractive then.

With the teams applauded when taking the knee (Colchester being one of the grounds where they booed last season), the kick off welcomed a roar from the Spurs fans that many have been missing for over 18 months.  It didn’t take long for the pattern of the first half to take shape, with the gap in quality becoming very evident early on.  With Moura and Bergwijn causing trouble with their pace, Colchester were soon reduced to fouling them, as they were not able to get close enough to make a fair tackle.  Lucas brought a save from Colchester keeper Shamal George early on and Eric Dier won two corners unopposed in the air, but put one over and one wide of the goal.  Son’s free-kick, awarded for a foul on Lucas, swung across the box from the right, missing Dier in the middle, but Dele got to it at the far post, knocking it back across the face of goal.  Cameron Carter-Vickers was the Spurs man in the six yard box who was just too far back from getting a goal-scoring touch.

Chunkily built Frank Nouble had the U’s’ first effort, picking up a half-cleared corner just outside the box, turning back towards goal away from Dele and firing a rising left footed shot just over the near angle of Alfie Whiteman’s goal from inside the left hand corner of the penalty area.   But Tottenham eased into the lead on 11 minutes, as Lucas played a through pass for Steven Bergwijn to run clear and unselfishly square the ball to Heung-Min Son, who tucked it away under the keeper from around the penalty spot.  It was a very good pass by Lucas that put Bergwijn away and the Brazilian is looking like he is turning into a creator of goals with his passing.

Not that it stops him scoring, as with the clock hitting 14 minutes, he rose high at the near post to glance Son’s corner into the net at the back post.  He really has a prodigious leap and is perfecting the art of scoring goals like this.  With this and his pace, he was causing all sorts of problems for the lumbering Colchester players, with Eastman perpetrating an awful foul from behind as Moura raced past him that surely would have been a red card on many another day.  The referee let it go without further punishment than a free-kick and he was having a shocker, as Bergwijn hurdled a challenge on the left wing before bursting into the box where Hannant slid in to bring him down about a metre away from the ball.  Wave on said the man in black, who obviously had little idea of what he was on the pitch for.

At the other end Hannant put in a dangerous low cross that Whiteman did well to get to and palm away and another right wing cross saw Cameron Carter-Vickers do well to win a far post header under a lot of pressure.  There were flutters of Colchester attacks with Dier doing well to block a low shot on goal and Sears’ header across goal being headed away from in front of goal.  Most of the real threat was at the other end and when Dier and Winks provided Maksim Paskotsi the ball on the right, his pass form the halfway line sent Son into space.  Taking the ball to the dead-ball line, he played a fast ball waist high across the six-yard box and Dele read it well to get something to it to guide it over the line to make it 3-0.  It could have been chest; it could have been thigh; it could have been stomach, but the noisy home fans behind that goal who had been giving him stick were silenced as he celebrated with Son.

Colchester picked up their game after the half-time break and from a corner that was cleared to Wiredu 20 yards out in the middle of the goal, he hit a dipping shot that Alfie Whiteman dived up to his right to push over.  It was Tottenham who had the ball in the net next, with Lucas Moura’s long cross from deep on the right into the heart of the penalty area finding substitute Dane Scarlett tucking it away on the volley.  However, the man who had replaced Son was denied a goal by the linesman’s flag for offside.  The home team almost got on the score-sheet when Sears’ corner was won at the far post and Luke Chambers saw his header come back off the crossbar.  Japhet Tanganga did well to get in the way of Tom Eastman’s close range effort in the six yard box, as the ball flew across it at speed. 

The referee finally discovered that he had cards in his pocket when Wiredu produced an equally horrible challenge as Moura left in in his wake and yellow was hardly sufficient punishment for such a brutal tackle.  I sincerely hope that Spurs will tell Colchester that they won’t be coming back, because there were potentially severe injuries that their tackles could have caused.  It was shortly after that Nuno decided to ring the changes, swapping all the outfield players, as is his way.

It brought some bright moves up front from Parrott and Scarlett, with Dane having a couple of shots blocked and Parrot getting in behind a defender to run in on goal, then twist and turn to make space, but he too had his effort blocked.  Before that Nile John struck a low shot from outside the box, but a defender got a touch to take it wide.  After all the subs for both teams, the game lost some of its momentum and it petered out into the goals in the first half settling it.

Dier had a good first half showing leadership with the armband, CCV alongside him did very well, winning almost everything in the air and not letting a lot get past him.  Dele looked sharp, as did Moura and Bergwijn, while, in his first game soon after returning to training, Son looked eager and keen in contrast to the comments made about his demeanour in the Hotspur Way videos.  Winks linked play in midfield, leaving Skippy to cover a lot of grass and spray passes around.  Tobi Omole was sound at left back and Paskotsi showed that he could be a real talent, always looking to get forward and strong in the tackle (one of which was very well timed, otherwise the referee might have been stirred to having a strong word with him).  Whiteman stayed the course of the full 90 and did well, looking to be able to make good decisions.

The Colchester Ultras had their evening out letting everyone know what they thought about Tottenham, while the Spurs fans kept their opinions of Colchester to themselves.  Any those opinions will probably play out this season, as the Essex club look like having another struggle, with Orient looking more ready for the season than the U’s.  Mostly, the view around us was pity for the Colchester fans, as their big games could invariably involve avoiding the drop. 

As for Spurs, another useful run out for the players and a chance for fans to ignore social distancing to get selfies and autographs from Lucas, Winks and Carter-Vickers as they warmed down after being substituted.  Hopefully, this is the start of the return to football with crowds, but the threat of rising Covid cases always has the dark cloud of lockdown hanging over it.  The Olympics is being threatened by athlete withdrawals and that should be a stark warning to sports administrators everywhere.

Marco van Hip