Byron Lawrence is unlikely to forget his Colchester United debut in a hurry.

The 18-year-old central midfielder came on as a second-half substitute in the U’s dramatic 3-2 defeat against Sheffield United, on Tuesday night.

The U’s immediately doubled their lead following Lawrence’s arrival on the pitch, only for the Blades to fight back and win.

But despite suffering the disappointment of losing a dramatic game, the former Ipswich Town youngster says it was a good experience.

Lawrence said: “I had mixed emotions - I was happy to get on and get my first game time for Colchester but it was a tough game to take.

“It was a debut to remember but it was a good experience.

“Richard (Hall) has told me to try and take the positives - he said it’s very rare for that to happen in a game.

“I’m really enjoying being part of the first-team squad and they’re a really good team to be involved in.

“I have to keep playing well in the under-21s and in training and hopefully get some more game time.”

Lawrence rose to prominence in 2012 when he made his Ipswich debut, at the age of 16.

But the teenager did not feature after that under Mick McCarthy and left Town to join Colchester at the beginning of this month.

“It’s been a really interesting couple of years for me,” said Lawrence, who signed for the U’s the day Tony Humes was appointed as first-team boss.

“Things probably didn’t go as I had wanted when I made my debut at 16.

“I always tried my best to kick on at Ipswich but I knew that I needed to move on to play.

“I had a few conversations with Mick McCarthy and I had a good relationship with him.

“He thought I was a good player but not quite good enough to play in his team.

“It was good to get away and have a fresh start and it’s what I needed after a couple of years at Ipswich.

“I came to a really good club in Colchester - I really like it here and it was an easy place to come to.”

Colchester have appointed Sean Thacker and Tony Ashby as their joint academy managers.

Thacker and Ashby have replaced Tony Humes and Richard Hall, following their elevation to the first team.

For a three-page preview of the U's game against Bradford City, see Friday's Daily Gazette.