Colchester United won 3-0 at Maldon and Tiptree in their opening friendly of the pre-season, as former U's striker Jamie Cureton made a surprise appearance at Park Drive.

Goals from Dexter Peter, Macauley Bonne and Matt Briggs helped the U's claim victory against their Ryman League division north opponents, who brought on former U's promotion winner Cureton as a half-time substitute.

Cureton, 40, is a free agent after leaving Dagenham and Redbridge at the end of  last season.

Colchester fielded four of their summer signings in the first half, with Doug Loft, Brennan Dickenson, Kurtis Guthrie and Peter all starting.

Dickenson fired a low shot straight at the keeper and being fed by Loft in the opening minutes, while Maldon's triallist keeper Daniel Wilks made a superb save down to his left to push away George Elokobi’s first-time shot in the 14th minute, after the Jammers had failed to clear a corner.

The deadlock was broken in unconventional fashion just before the half hour.

Peter’s attempted pass from just inside the Maldon half caught the wind and flew past Jammers keeper Wilks and into the net, to give Colchester the lead.

It meant that the U's held a one-goal advantage at half-time and they fielded an entirely different team in the second half, with new boys Luke Prosser, Craig Slater and Denny Johnstone all featuring, while Cureton came on for Maldon.

Johnstone, signed from Birmingham City earlier this month, wasted little time getting a shot away, firing straight at the keeper.

And soon after, the Scotsman found space on the right wing and unleashed a shot that flew wide of the far post.

Matthew Briggs’ shot was well held by the keeper while at the other end, Cureton was denied by Alex Wynter's last-gasp challenge in the area midway through the second half.

But the Jammers had their chances, with Cureton shooting straight at keeper Dillon Barnes after being sent through on goal following a defence-splitting pass.

However, Macauley Bonne doubled the U's lead when he fired through the legs of the keeper, after Sammie Szmodics had picked him out.

And Briggs wrapped things up in the final minute with a superb solo goal, as Colchester claimed victory.

COLCHESTER UNITED: First half: Bransgrove, Vincent-Young, Elokobi, Peter, O'Donoghue, Garvan, Loft, Sembie-Ferris, Guthrie, Dickenson, Porter.

Second half: Barnes, Brindley, Wynter, Prosser, Briggs, Lapslie, Slater, Wright, Szmodics, Bonne, Johnstone.

Attendance: 435