COLCHESTER United continued their encouraging pre-season with a 1-0 victory at National League South Dartford.

With just a fortnight to go until the big League Two kick-off, the U’s built on their victories against Maldon and Tiptree, Braintree Town and Colwyn Bay with a slender victory at Princes Park.

The only goal of Saturday’s friendly came nine minutes from time after an own goal from Ronnie Vint.

The defender connected with Brennan Dickenson’s low delivery from the left but could only watch as the ball flashed past hapless keeper Deren Ibrahim.

It was a cruel blow for the hosts, who provided a stern work-out for John McGreal’s side.

Colchester started with Rene Gilmartin in goal and a back three of Tom Eastman, Luke Prosser and Ollie Kensdale.

Kane Vincent-Young and Ryan Clampin were the wing-backs, with Brandon Comley and Diaz Wright screening the defence and Aaron Colins playing in the number ten role behind strikers Courntey Senior and Mikael Mandron.

The U’s were looking to build on a tough friendly at Dagenham and Redbridge on Tuesday night and Eastman had their first meaningful chance, when the ball dropped invitingly for him to the right of goal.

However, he could only steer his effort across goal and wide of the far post.

Senior also went close with an effort that skidded wide of the right-hand post, after a strong run to the box.

Collins saw an effort blocked after the ball was worked across the area from the right-hand side but the main talking point of the first half was a sickening injury suffered by Andy Pugh.

The game was only a handful of minutes old when the striker collided with keeper Gilmartin.

It was a 50-50 challenge but the sound and players’ reaction suggested it was a serious injury.

Pugh had to be stretched off and he was replaced by Kudus Oyenuga, who went on to prove a real thorn in the U’s defence.

The powerful front man had four chances, starting with an effort lashed into the side-netting after he jinked to the edge of the box.

Gilmartin was then called on to make three smart saves – one from distance, one to keep out a drive from the left and one to smother a downward header.

Earlier, Delano Sam-Yorke had headed just wide and seen a dipping shot from the edge of the box drop over.

Dartford made four changes at the break but it was the impressive Senior who created the first chance of the second half, showing persistence to make space for himself before seeing a close-range effort deflected behind by keeper Deren Ibrahim.

Colchester made a raft of substitutions on the hour-mark, only leaving on Eastman, Vincent-Young and Senior.

Those entering the fray were keeper Dillon Barnes, Ryan Jackson, Tom Lapslie, Frank Nouble, Brennan Dickenson, Sammie Szmodics, Harry Pell and Frankie Kent.

The game had lost some of its intensity by now but Oyenuga had one last chance, lifting an effort over the bar, before Colchester’s winner.

Next up for the U’s is Tuesday’s friendly against Millwall at the JobServe Community Stadium.