SO how good are Colchester United this season?

That might seem a strange question to ask, on the back of a humiliating 6-1 home defeat to Stevenage on Boxing Day, and just five weeks after an equally demoralising 5-1 home reverse at the hands of MK Dons.

But it is not as easy a question to answer, as might first appear on the surface.

The U’s, despite these recent heavy defeats on home soil, remain in mid-table. And that’s where they deserve to be.

Tellingly, John Ward’s men have lost to all of the top six clubs – Charlton, Sheffield Wednesday, Sheffield United, Huddersfield, MK Dons and Stevenage.

That confirms that the U’s are simply not good enough to make the play-offs. They have continually been outplayed and outgunned by their more lofty opponents.

In those six games, against the top six, the U’s have leaked 21 goals and scored just four. That tells a story.

Yet this same Colchester team have scored four goals on four occasions this term, at Preston (4-2 on the opening day) and Crewe (4-1 in the FA Cup), and at home to Notts County (4-2) and Bury (4-1).

In fact, they have not lost to opposition from the lower half of the league.

It is clear, then, that while not having the quality to upset the big guns, or play-off contenders, they are still in better shape than half the clubs in League One.

The most worrying trait for Ward himself, has been his team’s tendency to drop their heads, when the going gets tough.

That was the case against MK Dons, and was sadly repeated against ruthless Stevenage. Graham Westley’s side, like a lion going in for the kill, plundered four goals during the final half-hour.

The U’s do not exactly throw in the towel – that would be inexcusable – but they do have the air of a beaten team, once they fall too far behind.

And that is borne out by the statistics.

The U’s have not rallied from a goal down to win a league game this season, suggesting that there is something lacking in their psyche.

By contrast, Boxing Day visitors Stevenage have not lost a game, in which they have scored the first goal, since they joined the Football League in 2010.

Colchester have blown hot and cold this season, and I see no reason for that to change during the second half of the campaign.

In terms of goals, you certainly get value for money at the Weston Homes Community Stadium. A total of 42 goals from 11 home games is a ratio of almost four goals per fixture.

It’s just a shame that 22 of those 42 goals have been in the wrong net!