Colchester United were beaten 2-0 at home by Tranmere Rovers.

Number crunching

SADLY, the numbers do not lie for Colchester United, at present.

The U’s 2-0 defeat to Tranmere Rovers was their third in a row, the first time that has happened for nearly a year.

It is also four losses in their last five games, eight goals conceded and none scored in three fixtures; it does not make good reading.

The reality is that performance levels have dipped all over the pitch, at the same time.

The U’s are struggling to perform in both boxes – and their midfield has been decimated by injuries.

It has not helped Colchester that they have faced hungry, promotion-chasing sides in each of their last three fixtures.

But with seven matches to play, they must quickly rediscover their form in all areas if they are to rescue their play-off bid.

A big loss

THE influence of Colchester United’s three main summer signings in the opening half of the season was well documented.

So the absence of Harry Pell, Frank Nouble and Luke Norris from the U’s starting line-up against Tranmere Rovers was telling.

Pell’s troublesome hamstring injury, Nouble’s extended suspension and Norris’s dip in form following an ankle problem deprived boss John McGreal of three of his key performers.

Losing three players of their calibre at the same time would be pretty detrimental to any League Two side and it is proving so for the U’s.

Constant craving

THE clinical manner in which James Norwood scored Tranmere Rovers’ opener at Colchester proved just why he is League Two’s leading goalscorer.

With an outstanding 28 goals in 42 appearances this season, the prolific striker has been in red-hot form.

“Top teams have got that marksman and we’ve been craving that – we’ve had a few injuries throughout the season,” said McGreal when asked about Norwood in his pre-match press call.

Sammie Szmodics, Luke Norris and Courtney Senior have all played their part for Colchester this season and have contributed with some fine performances.

But Norwood has more goals than the trio combined so far this season and Tranmere’s position in the table is a reflection of that.

Excellent Eisa

PERHAPS the biggest positive for Colchester United against Tranmere Rovers on an otherwise disappointing day was the performance of Abo Eisa.

The on-loan winger certainly made the most of his return to the U’s starting line-up and grabbed his opportunity with both hands, after a four-game absence.

Eisa gave Tranmere’s defence a torrid time in the first half with his positive running, skill and trickery and the only downside was that a goal did not come of it.

The Shrewsbury Town loanee was unfortunate to see his second-half free-kick pushed onto the woodwork by keeper Scott Davies and his eye-catching display deserved a goal.

Rolling back the years

HE was a Player of the Year winner during his time at Colchester United.

So it was perhaps unsurprising to many that former U’s midfielder David Perkins should be so influential for Tranmere Rovers, on his return to the JobServe Community Stadium.

Perkins scored one goal and made the other for Tranmere and was outstanding throughout, in the heart of the visitors’ midfield.

The 36-year-old racked up nearly 100 appearances for the U’s during his three-year spell with them, between 2008 and 2011.

Perkins has enjoyed an excellent career and judging by his influential performance against Colchester, he still has more years left in the tank.