Battling Colchester United bowed out of the Carabao Cup to Championship side Aston Villa tonight - but not without a considerable fight.

The U's pushed Steve Bruce's side all the way in the first-round clash, played out in front of a crowd of 6.603 at a rain-sodden Weston Homes Community Stadium.

Colchester had gone 2-0 down inside 20 minutes following Scott Hogan's strike and Frankie Kent's own goal, with Mikael Mandron having a penalty saved by keeper Jed Steer.

And Kent scored his first professional goal six minutes before the break to get the U's back in it.

But despite putting Villa under pressure in the second half, they were unable to secure the equaliser they craved to force extra-time.

Colchester boss John McGreal made three changes to his starting line-up for their Carabao Cup tie against Villa.

Kyel Reid came in for his Colchester debut after signing on loan from League Two rivals Coventry City earlier this week, while there were also starts for Sammie Szmodics and Cole Kpekawa.

Craig Slater and Denny Johnstone dropped to the bench, while Tom Eastman missed out with an ankle injury.

Villa made nine changes to their side that started against Hull City in the Championship four days earlier, with Scott Hogan and James Chester the only survivors from the starting line-up from that 1-1 draw at Villa Park.

There was no appearance for former England captain John Terry, who was not in the Villa squad.

The game was played out in awful conditions throughout, with U’s head groundsman David Blacknall deserving huge credit for preparing a pitch as good as he did amid torrential rain throughout the day in North Essex.

It was certainly a filthy night for football but those who did turn up were treated to a breathless and hugely entertaining first half.

The tie began in lively fashion and the U’s fell behind in the seventh minute when Hogan slotted into an empty net, after Sam Walker had challenged Andre Green in the area and the ball had run loose.

Colchester responded superbly and little more than a minute later, won a penalty when Szmodics was brought down by Chris Samba in the area.

But Mandron, presented with the chance to open his U’s scoring account on his home debut for the club, saw his spot-kick saved by Villa keeper Jed Steer.

Skipper Tom Lapslie saw a fierce effort whistle inches past the post seconds later but Villa almost doubled their lead when Conor Hourihane’s low free-kick was saved by Walker.

After the frantic start things calmed down a little as the game wore on but Colchester fell further behind in the 19th minute.

After Albert Adomah had raced down the right and delivered a low cross, Frankie Kent was only able to divert the ball into his own net from close range.

Adomah looked offside when he crossed the ball but the goal stood.

It was a real blow for the U’s but once again, they responded well to conceding.

After Mandron had done well in the area to set him up, Szmodics’ shot looked like it was trickling in on the wet surface before Chester was on hand to clear the danger from near his own goal-line.

Colchester continued to attempt to play with tempo and looked dangerous when they attacked.

Szmodics was denied by Steer’s stop at his far post after Drey Wright’s excellent run had set his team-mate up.

But Colchester pulled a goal back six minutes before the break through Kent, who made amends for his earlier own goal by steering Reid’s speculative long-range effort past Steer and in for 2-1.

And the U's came close to equalising in first-half injury time when Steer tipped Sean Murray’s header over for a corner.

Hogan tested Walker early in the second half with a low shot that the U’s keeper was equal to.

And Walker was in action again just after the hour saving from Hourihane before Cameron James cleared Adomah’s shot off the line seconds later, as Villa pressed.

With eight minutes remaining, Steer made a magnificent save to deny Szmodics’ fine left-foot strike from the edge of the area but Colchester bowed out.