Joe Dunne’s elation is there for all to see after he volleyed home a late equaliser for Colchester United to secure them a 1-1 draw at Cardiff City in November, 2001.

The U’s defender pounced to score with three minutes remaining at Ninian Park in the division two clash, capitalising on a mistake by Bluebirds’ Scott Young.

It had looked like Steve Whitton’s side were heading for defeat in the match, after teenager James Collins had given Cardiff a first-half lead after netting from Andy Legg’s corner.

But withstanding some considerable pressure from the home side, the U’s rescued a point with only minutes remaining, resulting in Cardiff being booed off by the majority of the 8,013 fans in the stadium.

The likes of Bobby Bowry, Scott McGleish and goalkeeper Andy Woodman also featured in that match, in Wales.

It was a rare appearance that season for fans’ favourite Dunne.

In the U’s next game against Bury at Layer Road, the Irishman suffered a serious knee injury in a 1-0 loss which cut short his involvement for the rest of the campaign and ultimately sadly led to him retiring.

Dunne remained with Colchester after hanging up his boots, taking over as their under-17 coach in a progression that was to pave the way for a future management career at the U’s and his present club, Cambridge United.

The 1-1 draw at Cardiff was part of an inconsistent period for Colchester that season, after they had earlier embarked on their best-ever to a league campaign.

They collected an impressive ten points from a possible 12 from their opening four games, a run kicked off by a remarkable 6-3 opening-day triumph over Chesterfield at Layer Road.

It was the only time Colchester had ever scored six goals on the first day of the campaign, a feat surpassed by the club’s unforgettable 7-1 triumph at Norwich City under Paul Lambert, in 2009.

Colchester ended up finishing 15th in the table in the 2001-02 season under Whitton.

Their leading goalscorer was McGleish with 16 goals, while Karl Duguid was named the U’s Player of the Year and Mick Stockwell was their leading league appearance maker, playing 45 times.