While Colchester United under-23s manager Wayne Brown was disappointed to see the U’s exit the Essex Senior Cup, he was pleased with efforts of his young players.

There was no progress into the semi-final for Colchester as a young side was edged out in their quarter-final tie by Vanarama National League South side Chelmsford City.

The cup holders won 1-0 thanks to a late Shaun Batt strike, but Brown felt Colchester had had enough chances to have put the game to bed by the time the decisive goal went in.

And he hopes the young U’s players will learn lessons from their experience.

He said: “All that was missing in the game from us was a little bit of quality in the final third - whether that was a cross or a through ball or taking our chances.

“Look at the game as a whole and Chelmsford didn’t cause us problems. “We restricted them to set plays but other than that, they didn’t open us up, which tells you that our shape was good.

“We had a good work ethic and we matched them all over the pitch, but we had to take our chances when they came along.

“As a collective unit, I thought we had a good work rate and the players were gutted to lose.

“As long as they learn from the experience, though, and that they need to take a bit more care in front of goal then that’s what it’s all about.”

Brown said he saw the value in playing in a competition like the Essex Senior Cup as it gave the younger members of the U’s squad the chance to face different challenges than the ones they get in development football.

He added: “We enter these competitions to give the lads variety in what they are playing against.

“Development football is a great exercise; we’re in category two, where you face good individuals from big clubs and we also enter the Premier League Cup against Cat one clubs from the Premier League.

“They are already experiencing that and then the Essex Senior Cup gives them a bit of real world experience.

“Chelmsford are a side who play just two levels below our first team and we look at whether they can mix it in there.

“It was a big test against a good Chelmsford side who have an aim to get promoted this year.

“We knew it would be tough but I felt our lads matched them all over the pitch.

“It was just the final ball and not putting away chances.”