Colchester lost to Forest Green Rovers last weekend in League Two, but on Tuesday night they beat the Champions League finalists.
Such is the joy of the cup competitions in England, and their assistant manager Steve Ball joined the Totally Football League Show this week to tell us all about their extraordinary evening, when they held Tottenham to a 0-0 draw over 90 minutes in the EFL Cup, ultimately defeating them on penalties.
“It was just a fantastic night,” he said. “I’ve been at the club for a good few years now and it was certainly the best night in my time there. Spurs were a class act on and off the pitch before, during and after. It’s just worked out obviously fantastically well by us winning on penalties, and we’re all so delighted about it.”
It was Ball’s job to manage the shoot-out and decide the order of the takers, which worked out pretty nicely for them in the previous round too, when they got past Crystal Palace on penalties.
“I’ve got to be honest in the Palace game, I was more confident they would get it to 0-0,” said Ball. “But last night, Spurs were coming on strong the last 15, 20 minutes, they brought on brought on Erik Lamela, Christian Eriksen and Son-heung Min, so I didn’t tempt fate. I didn’t start planning it in my head at about two minutes to go. But obviously, as injury-time ticked down, then we started to think about it.
“I think the key things are just that look in their eye, if they come up to me and go ‘I want this one.’ And so Luke Norris was first up, a very, very confident boy. And it just followed on from there. I think it’s just a look their eye – there were a few shying away, but in in the main, they were all very confident.”
A cup run would be a huge bonus for Colchester, but clearly their main priority for the season will be promotion from League Two. They currently sit in tenth place having won their last two league games, and having just missed out in recent years, they will be aiming for more this time.
“It’s third year with me and John [McGreal, the manager] doing the job and we’ve just missed out on the playoffs two out of three years. So it goes without saying that’s our key target this year. We had a bit of a slow start, getting one point from the first three games. But since then, we’ve really kicked into a sort of good groove. And without being overconfident, challenging for the playoffs and maybe beyond that has got to be our aim. But after last night that can only help us.”
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