FRANKIE Kent has stressed Colchester United cannot use player unavailability as an excuse for their defeat at Newport County.

The U’s conceded twice in the second half at Rodney Parade to fall to a 2-0 defeat and suffer their first defeat in three matches, in League Two.

Colchester were without key midfielder Harry Pell due to suspension while leading scorer Luke Norris, goalkeeper Rene Gilmartin and defender Tom Eastman were also absent but defender Kent insists they cannot dwell on that.

Kent said: “We had players missing because of injury and suspension but that’s something that we’ve got to deal with.

“We know a season will have ups and downs so it’s something we can use as a positive to get other players in and get them playing and keep the squad morale high.

“We’ll see what happens this week and go again.”

Colchester played their part in an even first half at Newport, with chances few and far between for both teams.

However, they fell behind early in the second half to Jamille Matt’s close-range finish from a corner.

And when Cameron Pring raced through to add a second goal 13 minutes later, there was no coming back for the U’s.

Kent added: “We’re really disappointed, especially after the first half where I thought we did really well.

“We stood up to what they threw at us and were really good on the ball and used it really well.

“In the second half, the first five or ten minutes we said to come out and start strong and be on the front foot which I thought we did but they got a goal from a sloppy corner and it completely changes the game.

“Set pieces were something that we’d worked on throughout the week, so it was very disappointing to concede from one.

“We’re still in the game and had a few chances here and there but nothing really concrete.

“But then they get another goal on the break which we should have dealt with better as back four and that deflated us a little bit.

“It was hard after that, because they sat in their shape looking to hit us on the break.

“We know what they’re about – they work really hard and they’re an honest team but we just didn’t have the quality on the day to get the three points.

“We’re gutted that we got nothing from the game.”

England under-20s take on their Germany counterparts tonight, at the JobServe Community Stadium.

Paul Simpson’s Young Lions will be looking for victory in the international fixture, which kicks off at 7pm.