Colchester United under-18s’ superb start to the season continued as they made it nine wins out of nine with a 3-1 victory at Stevenage.

The U’s booked their place in the knockout stages of the Youth Alliance Cup, thanks to their third win in the group stage of the competition.

With their leading goalscorer Sammie Szmodics in first-team action and others ruled out with injuries, under-16s trio Cameron James, Tariq Issa and Diaz Wright, brother of Drey Wright, all featured.

After a goal-less first half, Colchester took the lead after the interval when Macauley Bonne headed in Tyler Brampton’s cross at the far post.

The hosts levelled things up at 1-1 but Stevenage were then left stunned by a wonder strike by Colchester.

Michael O’Donoghue collected possession and beat three Stevenage defenders, before smashing an unstoppable shot into the top corner.

O’Donoghue was involved in the move which led to Colchester going further ahead.

He linked with Tom Monk who beat two opponents before crossing for Bonne to slide in to score his second of the match from close range.

Colchester are back in league action on Saturday when they travel to play MK Dons.

The U’s are expecting a tougher clash than the pre-season encounter between the two sides at Florence Park, which the U’s won 8-1.