With two home games against supposedly weaker opposition coming up, Blades fans allowed themselves a rare moment of optimism by thinking we could possibly be top of the league by Tuesday night.
Surely Gillingham was an aberration and the real Sheffield United was the one that played so well and won at Peterborough and Swindon?
Instead we were sent back to last season and a couple of nervous, disjointed performances. Yet on both occasions United got back into but let it slip away. Having equalised against Bury United should have won, but instead went flat and couldn’t get the ball back. Bury’s second goal could be seen coming a mile off, even though we didn’t expect it to come from a mile out.
Colchester’s first goal could also be seen coming, yet it was scored after only seven minutes. In the first three minutes United casually gave the ball away six times, then when Jose Baxter did it again the goal came moments later.
Losing the ball again from our throw-in handed them the second. Nobody could understand how a team that hadn’t won all season could dominate so easily – they could have had six in the first half alone.
Then when United got back to 2-2 it was Bury all over again. Instead of mounting a storming finish to win the match, they retreated, couldn’t get the ball, stood off Marvin Sordell as they had done Joe Riley, and let him have a crack.
He deserved the deflection – Neill Collins and David Edgar couldn’t handle him all night. Billy Sharp’s penalty would have denied Colchester the win that their performance merited.
Nigel Adkins must be scratching his head as much as we are. Where did those two performances come from? He has a big job to do to find out.