So we’re just going through the motions now, and we pretty much have been since beating Notts County at Meadow Lane on New Year’s Eve 2016. The performance of the manager and players since then has been entirely unacceptable. Following this win we were second in the table and looked in a strong position for promotion. Tonight, we’re sixteen points behind the team in second position – in the same division, a team which is managed on a much lower operating budget than our own. Of course, we have no right to any position in the division, it has to be earned. However, as supporters we do have a right to expect better than this, considering the ample resources the manager has been provided to invest in the team. There’s no way performances like this afternoon are in any way acceptable, neither is being comfortably in the bottom half of the table after thirty one league games. We’ve massively underperformed, and our manager has looked completely out of his depth for some time now, that or his heart’s simply not in it anymore. Just going through the motions, turning up, picking up his wage, not really giving too much of a f_ck about what happens on the pitch.

I really can’t see any point keeping him at the club any longer. The longer he stays and the more Curle-ball he serves up, the lower our crowds will drop, the lower our financial constriants will be for the new manager next season and the tougher it will be for the club to make any progress.

Anyway, there were too many square pegs trying to fit into round holes again today. Parkes is not a left-back, Twardek is not a centre-forward, Devitt is not a central midfielder – and some of the other players barely look like footballers. Yes, we had a slightly more attacking formation, but we didn’t seem to have any idea what to do with the football. Let’s be honest, Colchester were a really poor side, but we gave them a goal with some schoolboy defending and average goalkeeping and then struggled to create any scoring opportunities of our own through open play. We look short of quality and intelligence all over the pitch – and we don’t seem to be getting any better – however many new players the manager brings in.

Bonham – 2 – Needs to work on where the ball bounces off him when he tries to save it. It’s not just about shot-stopping, it’s about ensuring you don’t tee easy chances up for the opposition. Distribution was utterly brainless and it was pitiful watching him scrambling about in the dirt. If only we’d signed a new keeper in the transfer window. Effectively cost us three points last week and two points today with his abject efforts, that’s minus five points in two games for our “player of the month”.

Brown – 3 – We’ve finally managed to drag him down to our level, staying at Brunton Park may not have been the best idea for his career. His calmness and composure on the ball has vanished, although when you’re playing alongside Gary Liddle this is perhaps understandable. Struggled getting forward and panicked a bit defensively. Where’s Tom Miller disappeared to?

Parkes – 2 – So after getting completely on the wrong side of his man last week for the third goal we conceded, today his ridiculous effort at left-back destroyed our effort to play offside and led directly to the goal we conceded. Looks half decent going forward, but he’s not a left-back and his chronic lack of fitness is costing us goals in every game now.

Liddle – 3 – Our captain, I don’t know whether to laugh, or cry. Captain fantastic? No, he’s Captain Ordinary, the most boring and pointless footballer in the history of sport. Just because he doesn’t look quite as much of a disaster area as he did last season doesn’t mean he deserves the armband. When did Liddle come in to the club and when did the malaise under Curle begin? Hmmmm.

Hill – 3 – Slightly better than last week but still looks like he’s struggling on too many occaisons. Who was the last central defender we had who looked truly comfortable and composed at the back? Peter Murphy? James Chester? He’s no Derek Muntfield, that’s for certain.

Jones – 2 – At least he was trying to play football, but trying this radical new approach looked to be confusing him. It’s so long since he’s tried to pass the ball to players in blue shirts he seems to have forgotten how to. The irony of it all was, just as he looked to finally be settling into a groove he was substituted. Unless he wasn’t supposed to be passing the ball, of course.

Etuhu – 2 – So Kelvin can shoot, it seems. Two decent efforts in the first half, one which forced a decent save, but his all round effort was (let’s be honest) lamentable. If you could transplant a functioning brain into his skull you could have a footballer, however he’s probably the least intelligent and unaware midfielder I’ve ever seen at league level. Just because you manage to get in the way occasionally doesn’t make you some sort of “holding” midfielder.

Devitt – 3* - Excellent free-kick, after a sighter which hit the bar, our best moment of the afternoon and one of our very few moments of quality. That being said, he was utterly anonymous for the majority of the afternoon and looks like he has no idea where to position himself most effectively as a central midfielder. I’m sick of saying it, but he’s a winger and needs to be played on the wing, it’s not rocket science.

Stockon – 1 – One header on target which was well saved, however it was the only header he won all afternoon and he was incredibly easy to defend against. I’m not sure exactly what he’s bringing to the side which any of our other forwards couldn’t. Looks slow, on his heels and unfit. Needs to up his game and effort by roughly 5000%. I’m struggling to see why we paid money for him on this type of showing?

Twardek – 3 – Bags of effort and running, but a waste of a shirt when we just employ him as a whippet to chase lost causes, we might as well play Hope. We desperately need to get the ball to his feet in the final third or even be able to provide him with balls to run on to (you know, push the ball into his path on the wing when he’s facing forward). He’s going to be battered half to death by May if Curle’s tactics remain as abject as this afternoon.

Subs

Lambe – 2 – A few positive dribbles and sparks of life, but still frustratingly lightweight – and guess what – another winger playing out of position. What a surprise.

O’Sullivan – 0 – We loaned Egan out this week, I’d prefer if we’d loaned this poor excuse for a footballer out and given Egan an opportunity, he certainly can’t be any worse.

Bennett – 1 – What on Earth was that at the end of the game, a shot? At one point this season he looked like he was improving, but now (like so many of our players) he looks barely a footballer. What do we do on the training pitch, play tiggy on the lines?