Sammie Szmodics came off the bench to score a magnificent winner for Colchester United at Barnet this afternoon.

Szmodics curled a delightful shot home with seven minutes remaining to score his sixth goal of the season and seal a 1-0 win for the U's at the Hive and settle a tight contest with the Bees, in League Two.

It was the perfect response from Colchester to their cup disappointments and helped them maintain their fine league form and results away from home, where they are now five matches unbeaten in the league.

Colchester head coach John McGreal made one change to the side that had started their 1-0 FA Cup defeat against Oxford City for their game at Barnet, in League Two.

Kane Vincent-Young returned to the U’s side for the first time in the league since October 17, after recovering from a hamstring injury and completing 90 minutes in the Checkatrade Trophy at Southend United, in midweek.

He came in for Kyel Reid, who dropped to the bench and was among the substitutes at the Hive.

Sammie Szmodics was also among the substitutes, after making his injury comeback as a substitute at Southend.

Defences were on top in a closely-contested opening 45 minutes.

Barnet had the better of the few openings that were created but in truth, most of the game was played out in midfield and chances were few and far between before half-time.

Colchester keeper Sam Walker saved Ryan Watson’s free-kick low down in the opening minutes and then easily collected Jack Taylor’s low 20-yard drive, after John Akinde had missed his kick inside the area.

The early stages were played at a frantic pace, with neither side able to stamp their authority on the contest.

Much of it was played in the air, with the U’s central defence dealing very well with their headed responsibilities against the physical presence of Simeon Akinola.

Ryan Jackson turned neatly past David Tutonda just outside the Barnet box but dragged a weak low shot wide.

But the Bees looked more threatening and Ryan Inniss did well to intercept for a corner in the area to deny Mauro Vilhete just before the half hour, after Akinde had pounced on a Jackson mistake and driven towards goal.

Frankie Kent then made a good tackle to deny Ryan Watson in the area after a good Akinola run, before both sides resorted to aerial balls as the goal-less first half came to a close.

Barnet went close in the opening minutes of the second half when former Braintree Town attacker Simeon Akinola's cross-shot flashed across the face of the six-yard box, after Vilhete had picked him out.

But Colchester had a huge appeal for a penalty and red card turned down, just before the hour.

Barnet's Taylor appeared to handle Inniss's header on the line, after Hanlan had headed Loft's corner back across goal.

Colchester sent Szmodics on for Brandon Hanlan with 18 minutes remaining, in a bid to secure a winner.

Szmodics almost made an immediate impact seconds after coming on when his fine footwork in the area resulted in a low shot that was well saved by Barnet keeper Jamie Stephens.

And he made the crucial breakthrough with seven minutes remaining when he collected possession 25 yards out and advanced towards goal before planting a superb left-foot shot past Stephens and in off the post.

It proved to be the winning goal for Colchester, as they maintained their fine league form.