I last reported on young Luke Garbutt against MK Dons at the end of November. There actually had been another home game against Notts County played since the MK Dons fixture but I chose not to report on that one.

Why did I choose not to report on the Notts County game? Basically because Colchester were awful and got hammered 0-4. Baring in mind Notts County were at the time bottom of League 1 this was just a terrible and embarrassing home defeat by Colchester.

How did Luke Garbutt play in the Notts County fiasco? He was bloody awful, just like every player in a Colchester United shirt. He wasn’t alone in being awful, they were all equally awful. Anyway it was a game with no positives and I chose to immediately forget it.

Immediately following the Notts County fiasco, there were clear-the-air talks between the manager Joe Dunne and the his players and a very encouraging away win against Oldham followed. Garbutt apparently played the full 90 minutes in the away win.

This brings me to today, a Boxing Day home clash against struggling Stevenage. I took my seat and noticed that as usual Luke Garbutt was starting at left back today.

This was a far more positive performance from Colchester United and within 15 minutes they had a 2-0 lead which was increased to 3-0 before the half was out.

Garbutt had a solid if unspectacular first half. There was a nice moment where Stevenage whipped in a dangerous cross and Garbutt rose gracefully and calmly headed the ball out. What was great about this was not only did Garbutt win the ball in the air but he didn’t just clear his lines, he used the header intelligently and found a teammate. It was a moment of composure and intelligence which earned a round of applause for Garbutt and I’m sure Roberto Martinez would have loved it. That’s the first time I’ve seen Garbutt displaying a defensive ability in the air and it was very encouraging.

However this was quickly followed by a lapse in concentration by Garbutt. The ball was passed back to last man Garbutt who was robbed by an opposing Stevenage player. Luckily the Stevenage player failed to convert his Christmas Gift and Garbutt got away with it but it was a reminder that Garbutt is a young player and still capable of making mistakes. At this level you can make mistakes... but in the Premier League, a mistake like that would undoubtedly cost Everton a goal.

Towards the end of the half, Colchester were awarded a free kick just outside the Stevenage area. It was in a similar position to the one Ross Barkley scored against Swansea. Immediately there was a buzz amongst the fans and I heard somebody mutter ’Garbutt territory’.

Sure enough, Garbutt quickly grabbed the ball and assumed responsibility for the free kick. He placed it down, lined it up and then struck a sweet shot around the wall. It was a peach of a shot heading straight into the top corner but amazingly the Stevenage keeper saved it. Such a shame because Garbutt deserved a goal with that strike.

At half-time I was amazed to discover Everton were losing 0-1. Really? Don’t we always stuff Sunderland at Goodison?

The second half was a bit of a let down. Stevenage looked a defeated team and Colchester were quite happy to defend their 3-0 lead.

Garbutt had some bright moments in the second half. A couple of excellent blocks highlighted how much he’s improved defensively. Garbutt now looks much better with a tackle and one sliding tackle was Hibbertesque.

Another great moment saw some interplay and a terrific dummy which released Garbutt down the left-hand side. Garbutt raced down the line leaving the Stevenage defender in his wake. Then Garbutt released a lovely cross which curled up and over all the Stevenage players and was just inches from the Colchester player’s head. A really nice cross from Garbutt and the way in which Garbutt can bend the ball makes me think of David Beckham.

Another moment saw Garbutt race down the line and win the ball on pace. Unfortunately Garbutt tried too much and attempted to beat the next defender and lost the ball but it was an exciting moment to see Garbutt at full pace.

The only other Garbutt moment worth mentioning was a very disappointing corner which failed to beat the first man. As good as Garbutt is at crossing the ball, there are still moments where he gets it wrong. I guess it’s something that will improve with experience.

Colchester eventually won the game 4-0 and received a standing ovation as they left the field. It must have been music to their ears as they were badly booed from the field in the game before against Notts County.

It was another encouraging performance from Garbutt and it’s fair to say he’s become a fan favourite with the Colchester United supporters.

On the way home I was aghast to discover Everton had lost at home to Sunderland!!!! Really?? Don’t we usually beat Sunderland three- or four-nil? I seem to remember Everton scoring 7 against them not so long ago...

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Reader Comments (3)

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Dick Fearon
1 Posted 27/12/2013 at 08:24:38
I guess there are thousands like me relying on and appreciating those like you who take the time to fill in the gaps of knowledge about our club.
Please continue.
To keep up with things .I have no option but to use TV and computer. ToffeeWeb is my favourite source and I enjoy the mostly civilised banter it brings.
Sometimes I throw my own tuppence worth into the ring where it is chewed over and sometimes uncermoniously thrown back.
Satelite TV has greatly improved communication with the 'old country'
yet the best part is sharing thoughts with other real life flesh and blood Toffee men such as yourself.
Steve Green
2 Posted 28/12/2013 at 03:42:49
Thanks for the news update Dick. Re para 8, Luke Shaw from my seat at St Marys (I wish it was Goodison) doesn't make those mistakes.

[Just trying to put things in perspective for where we are at the moment...]

Jimmy Sørheim
3 Posted 29/12/2013 at 15:32:51
Luke Garbutt will never be good enough for Everton so I find it more interesting reading about Duffy and Lundstram.

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