Colchester United head coach John McGreal felt his side deserved more than a point from his first-ever game in charge.

The U’s played out a 1-1 draw at Hartlepool United, on the opening day of the new League Two season.

Tom Eastman fired Colchester ahead in the fourth minute but Billy Paynter equalised from the spot before the half hour, as the spoils were shared at Victoria Park.

The likes of Sammie Szmodics, Kurtis Guthrie and substitute Dion Sembie-Ferris all had opportunities to score for the U’s after Eastman had netted but the game ended in a draw.

McGreal said: “We were a little bit disappointed to come away with only a point.

“We had five or six glorious chances, especially in the second half.

“But we’ve done a lot of travelling to get here, so we’re really happy.

“It was a warm day and a lot of them had run out of legs by the end but I thought that we finished strongly.

“I felt that we were a threat on the break with the pace that we’ve got from Kurtis (Guthrie), Sammie Szmodics and Drey (Wright) so we still had that in our pocket.

“Tom Lapslie was excellent and he was here, there and everywhere.

“I thought the combination between him and Slates (Craig Slater) worked particularly well in midfield.

“We can’t lose sight of what we’ve got at our club.

“We’ve had the new boys coming in but we’ve got quality boys of our own."

Eastman fired Colchester ahead early on, shooting into the roof of the net after good work by Szmodics and Chris Porter had led to his opportunity.

McGreal said: “Chris Porter caused problems as he did throughout the hour or so that he played and he combined with Sammie (Szmodics) for Tom to put it in the top corner and it was a great finish.”

McGreal felt Colchester should have been awarded a free-kick seconds before Szmodics brought down the impressive Nathan Thomas in the area for a penalty.

McGreal added: “We feel that we should have a free-kick shortly before the penalty was given (when Drey Wright went down).

“It was blatant to see and even their bench turned around and said it was a free-kick.

“I think something had happened beforehand where we might have been a little bit fortunate but these things happen in games and they do balance themselves out.”

For five pages of coverage of the U’s game with Hartlepool, see Monday’s Daily Gazette.