Memories of Colchester United
Colchester United 0-1 Charlton, 7th January 1984
Despite years of visiting the great and the good of old stadium in the 1980's nothing really prepared us for the FA Cup 3rd round visit to Layer Road.
Colchester were relegated from the old 3rd Division three years before and they spent the next 7 years on the cusp of getting back up until just missing out on dropping into the black hole of the conference in 1988/89 but then succumbed the following season. The U's spent two years in the Conference and came up in style by the doing the League and Cup double in 1992. The little Essex club was reborn that year, the same as we were and they have improved year on year ever since.
That FA Cup game was the last time we played Colchester until this season and Layer Road by all accounts has changed very little.
A short journey on that chilly January day and 2,000 odd Addicks piled into the terrace behind the goal. It was a dreadful game and the U's with the experienced Stewart Houston and Roger Osborne and the young Perry Groves controlling the game, it is hard to remember a worthwhile effort on now Watford goalkeeper Alec Chamberlain's goal.
The pitch was hard and uneven and the Addicks faithful grew restless and I remember vividly a huge of lump of wooden terrace being yanked up and passed over heads to the watching coppers standing in front.
The 6,296 crowd, twice their league average, sensed a shock, something they couldn't do at home to Man Utd earlier in the season in the League Cup (13,000 watched that and I would've loved to know how they got that many people into Layer Road) but completely out of the blue an Ian Phillips back pass evaded Chamberlain and gave us the lead with 11 minutes left.
We go mad, as if we had actually won the Cup and hang on despite a young Shane Westley
getting sent off. The euphoria soon wears off in the car home realising how awful we had played and how lucky we were to be in the 4th Round.Charlton:
Johns, Curtis, Dickenson, Gritt, Dowman, Berry, Harris, Jones, Moore, Westley, Aizlewood.
Sub not used: Little
Colchester: Chamberlain, Farrell (Hubbick 80), Phillips, Hadley, Wignall, Houston, Groves, Osborne, Bowen, Adcock, Leslie.