COLCHESTER United claimed the derby bragging rights in their Essex derby to win their first Football League Trophy match in nearly a decade.

Goals from Frankie Kent and Aaron Collins either side of half-time helped the impressive U’s beat Southend United 2-0 in their Checkatrade Trophy Group B match, at the JobServe Community Stadium.

The win was John McGreal’s first cup victory as head coach and was the perfect way for Colchester to bounce back from their league defeat at Stevenage, last weekend.

McGreal makes seven changes to his side for the game against Southend, adopting a 3-5-2 formation.

Goalkeeper Rene Gilmartin, Frankie Kent, Brennan Dickenson, Brandon Comley, Diaz Wright, Mikael Mandron and Aaron Collins were all given the chance to shine.

Dillon Barnes, Courtney Senior, Harry Pell, Luke Norris and Kane Vincent-Young all dropped to the bench, while Tom Lapslie and Frank Nouble were not included in the 18 against a Southend side who themselves made nine changes.

Chances were at a premium for both sides throughout the opening 45 minutes.

But former Southend defender Luke Prosser was called upon to make a vital block to prevent Shawn McCoulsky from getting a shot away inside the box following a corner, inside the opening minutes.

Colchester warmed to the task as the half wore on and Ryan Jackson drove in from the right before unleashing a low shot that flew straight at keeper Nathan Bishop from 20 yards.

The U’s produced some flowing football at times and Southend failed to seriously test U’s keeper Gilmartin throughout the opening 45 minutes.

The deadlock was broken six minutes before half-time when Kent sent a glancing header past Bishop and into the net from Jackson's long throw into the area to score his second goal of the season and give the U’s the lead.

Buoyed by the goal, Colchester went in search of further goals and almost scored again two minutes later when Wright showed good footwork just outside the area before planting a shot just wide of the post.

The U’s, who sent on Kane Vincent-Young for Jackson at the interval, went in at the break ahead.

And although Gilmartin had to dive full stretch to hold onto Isaac Hutchinson’s curled effort early in the second half, the hosts were on top.

They doubled their lead four minutes after the break when Aaron Collins polished off a fine move to slot a low shot past Bishop from close range to score his first Colchester goal.

Mandron hooked an effort wide on the hour mark after substitute Senior had done well to pick him out in the area, as the U’s hunted further goals.

They almost scored a superb third just after the hour when Vincent-Young’s excellent solo run from inside his own half resulted in a powerful shot that flew straight at Bishop while seconds later, Collins fired over from a good position as the U’s pressed.

Southend threatened after that, with Taylor Moore heading straight at Gilmartin from a corner and Stephen Hendrie’s deflected low cross-shot sailing just wide of the far post.

The visitors came even closer with 19 minutes to go when Tom Eastman made a fine goal-line block to deny Shawn McCoulsky what looked a certain goal.

But Colchester saw out the final stages to claim a morale-boosting win.

COLCHESTER UNITED: Gilmartin, Eastman, Prosser, Kent, Jackson (sub Vincent-Young, 46), Collins, Comley, Wright, Dickenson, Szmodics (sub Senior, 58), Mandron (sub Norris, 84).

Substitutes (not used): Kensdale, Gondoh, Pell, Ross.

Southend United: Bishop, Moore, Dieng, Hendrie, Bwomono, McLaughlin, Klass, Batlokwa (sub Gard, 81), Hutchinson (sub Yearwood, 58), Robinson (sub Kightly, 58), McCoulsky.

Substitutes (not used): Coker, Turner, Cox, Oxley.

Goals: Colchester: Kent (39), Collins (49).

U’s man of the match: Frankie Kent.

Bookings: None.

Attendance: 1,516 (541 Southend fans).

Referee: Roger East (Wiltshire) - 7.