THE pain of yet another winless game at Exeter coupled with our heaviest defeat for five years will live long in the memories of U’s fans. The only silver lining edging the Coronavirus cloud being that we were not allowed to be there in person to witness it.

Our long journey home to Colchester, dissecting the game, arriving back in the early hours, would not have been for the faint hearted.

Having ground out the iFollow viewing for all of the 90 minutes I am struggling to understand where that result came from. Exeter were slick, smart, strong and precise in virtually everything they did.

The U’s were a long way off the level required to at least match them and several players looked strangely elsewhere, especially with their passing. After the FA Cup disappointment against Marine where I offered a little sympathy to the players, but watching the final stages last Tuesday night was embarrassing.

The pity is that our cup exit has left the U’s with no game this weekend, so they now have a week to potentially stew over that performance before Crawley come to town next week where they must find a way of getting back to the levels that had previously taken them to the play-off positions.

These levels were on show at Mansfield a week ago where I thought the U’s gave as good as they got and showed the fight required to come back for the point. The finish from Luke Norris was very good and with hindsight, with so many attackers on the pitch in the final stages, I bet that Steve Ball would have been disappointed not to have snatched victory.

The emptying of the U’s bench of attackers that night was courtesy of the new rules regarding the now five permitted substitutions. My own jury is still out on whether this is a good thing or not.

It will certainly change the thinking of managers, otherwise we would not have seen three being replaced at Exeter after 45 minutes. Some teams may not be able to cope with excessive changes on the pitch.

Such a shame that the U’s get dismantled in the same week where plans are put in place to hopefully place us back into the JobServe Community Stadium to support the team.

As I have said before, I will always prefer to watch the U’s live than via a screen, so I will jump at the chance. Clearly much of the work has already been put in place by the U’s and they deserve huge credit for doing so.

It will then be up to us as fans to make sure that we follow all of their rules and help the club make this work. To think it will be a “normal” experience would be wrong.

That will come in time, so for now let’s just focus making it as enjoyable as possible. Time to dust off the scarves, hats and gloves though I think!

Thanks for support as always U’s fans and I hope to see some of you back up at the stadium real soon.

Colchester United Supporters Association chairman Jon Burns