Colchester United head coach John McGreal felt his side made a positive statement after holding fifth-placed Mansfield Town to a 1-1 draw at Field Mill.

Brandon Comley’s first-ever professional goal early in the second half cancelled out Kane Hemmings’ first-half goal to end a run of two straight defeats and lift the U’s to within six points of the League Two play-off places.

McGreal said: “The boys have shown a bit of confidence after a few doubters questioning whether or not they’re good enough to be in the play-offs.

“I think we made a statement against a top-three team who are going to be there and we’ve come away with a deserved point.

“I thought it was a great game for the neutral and to be involved in and a great spectacle for division two, which was excellent.

“I’m sure they were thinking they were going to get the win but I’m really proud of my boys.

“Some of the football we played was terrific.

“We made our own mistakes in the first half and put ourselves on the backfoot but in the second half, we kept the ball moving in good areas and it was a great goal by (Brandon) Comley.

“Before they scored, we had two glorious opportunities where we’ve missed the target.

“Dicko (Brennan Dickenson) went through and in a way, this time last year that would have gone in the bottom corner and then Drey (Wright) who was clean through but hits a shot five to ten yards past the post.

“Then straight from that moment, we conceded a poor goal.

“But I thought that we were a threat in the first half and we tweaked the system and made the changes to do that.

“We’re not here to beat around the bush – we’re here to make progress.

“I felt it was the right time to make changes and it proved it, as I thought some of the performances were excellent.”