Marcus Bean's equaliser just before half-time helped injury-hit Colchester United secure a 1-1 draw at Shrewsbury Town tonight.

But the U's injury crisis deepened when Freddie Sears and David Wright were both forced off with injuries at the New Meadow.

Colchester got a warning of what was to come when keeper Sam Walker did well to save Dave Winfield’s second-minute volley.

But barely a minute later, Adam Reach was allowed far too much time and space to advance down the U’s right and cross for Cristian Lopez to head home for the Shrews.

Colchester debutant Elliot Lee fired wide from the edge of the area after some good build-up play by the U’s and Freddie Sears ballooned over the bar, following a good attacking move.

But Shrewsbury were the better side in the first half and enjoyed plenty of space to play in just in front of the Colchester penalty area.

Liam McAlinden curled over the bar before the U’s suffered another injury blow midway through the half when Sears limped off with a hamstring problem.

Walker made a superb diving save to push away Jon Taylor’s thunderbolt and Luke Summerfield’s half-volley whistled past the upright, as Shrewsbury threatened a second goal.

But the U’s were back on level terms two minutes before the break.

After a good attack, Bean curled a low shot into the net from inside the area after Gavin Massey and Clinton Morrison had linked up well to pick him out but Shrews keeper Chris Weale should have done better in his attempts to keep it out.

There was little tempo to the contest in the opening stages of the second half, with neither side able to gather any momentum after the break.

U’s keeper Walker had to punch away Dave Winfield’s looping header from Joe Jacobson’s free-kick into a crowded area.

But Colchester offered more as an attacking force in the second half and Alex Gilbey's shot was deflected straight at Weale, after he had been picked out by substitute Jeffrey Monakana in the area.

For a full match report, pictures and reaction to the U's game at Shrewsbury, see Wednesday's Gazette.