Colchester United under-18 lead coach Chris Llewellyn admits they can “thank their lucky stars” they are still in this season’s FA Youth Cup.

The U’s youth team progressed to the second round of the national competition following a thrilling 5-4 victory over Cheshunt at the Weston Homes Community Stadium, on Tuesday.

Colchester conceded after just 12 seconds and found themselves 3-0 down after little more than half an hour.

But a brace from Dean Ager, along with further strikes from Callum Jones and Noah Chilvers along with an own goal, saw them progress to a home tie with either Bishop’s Stortford or Boreham Wood, in the next round.

Llewellyn told the Daily Gazette: “I think we can thank our lucky stars that we’re still in the competition.

“It wasn’t the start that we had wanted, to say the least. We had a game plan heading into the match but they scored after 12 seconds and got two more quickly after that.

“You don’t envisage being 3-0 down and the boys were looking a little nervous at that stage.

“But we bounced back well and showed really good spirit.

“We scored at the right time and getting two goals before half-time really helped.

“Some of the boys hadn’t played in the competition or played under lights before, so there were a lot of factors going into it.

“But the boys settled down well and I think in the end, we were worthy winners.

“It was a game where Cheshunt had nothing to lose.

“Credit to them for their performance – they started very well and played to their strengths.

“They were a credit to themselves and their club and I’m sure they’ll be thinking themselves unfortunate not to have won.

“It was a good experience - we’ve tried to expose the players to different game scenarios, the kind of things that might come up against in professional football.”

Colchester will now host Bishop's Stortford in the second round after they beat Boreham Wood last night.

The tie must be played before November 19.

“It’s a quick turnaround and we hope that we can get into the third round and have a shot at the big boys,” said former Norwich City and Wales favourite Llewellyn, who took charge of the U’s under-18 side in the summer.

n Colchester’s under-23s travel to play their Burnley counterparts in their Premier League Cup curtain-raiser tonight, kick-off at 7pm.