COLCHESTER pushed East Men’s League division one leaders Spalding all the way after producing a determined display but lost out 3-2.

The visitors travelled to the Garrison on a 10-game winning streak but they were given a real fright by their struggling hosts.

Spalding took the lead through a neat reverse stick effort past keeper Aaron Sime, after intercepting Michael Pearce’s attempted clearance.

The impressive Sime was called into action moments later to deny the Spalding forward.

But Colchester equalised before half-time through John Wilson, who fired home from inside the D following Mark Prince’s superb piece of play.

Colchester also forced a couple of penalty corners in the first half, with Richard Sexton going close for the hosts.

Spalding quickly added two further goals to take control of the game, with the second being one of the best individual goals seen at this level.

The visitors’ forward was driven across the D by Pearce but he was still able to fire his reverse stick effort from the edge of the D past Sime and into the top corner.

Colchester were not out of the game, though.

They soon got back to the kind of hockey they are capable of, with Dean Campbell finishing off a lovely move to make it 3-2.

Colchester pressed hard in search of an equaliser after that.

But they were just unable to find the goal to deny Spalding a victory for the first time since the opening day of the season.

Sime was Colchester’s man of the match for his superb goalkeeping display, after he made a number of fine saves.

Colchester know they need to turn their fortunes round in the new year, starting with their rearranged game against fellow strugglers Brentwood on January 10.

Colchester’s second XI were beaten 10-2 at East London II, in division 4SE.

But Colchester’s third XI battled to a 3-2 win at home to Brentwood IV, in division 5SE.