Colchester United manager John McGreal felt it was only a “man-of-the-match” performance from Exeter City keeper Christy Pym that stood between his U’s side and an eighth home league win of the season.

It took a superb display by the Grecians' shot-stopper to deny the U’s a three-point haul from their League Two clash at the JobServe Community Stadium as the game ended 1-1.

The point was enough to take Colchester, who had Sammie Szmodics on target before Jayden Stockley equalised for the visitors, up to third in the table.

While McGreal was proud of his team’s display, there was a slight disappointment that it wasn’t win number eight on home turf.

The U’s boss said: “I think a blind man would have seen that we were unlucky not to have won that game.

“I thought we were excellent against a team who have been in the play-offs for the last three years and were the finalists last year.

“Matt (Taylor) has them playing in a different way to how Paul (Tisdale) did, but we stick to our principles and I thought their keeper came away with their man-of-the-match award by far.

“He was excellent for them.

“We have been working on creating chances because we haven’t been scoring as many goals as we wanted and we’ve continued to work hard on the training pitch.

“We worked on a few different phases of play and got in some really good opportunities but came up against a keeper who has been outstanding.

But I thought the way we moved the ball and our switches in play were excellent; I was really proud of my team because I felt we were very good.”

The U’s goal was worth waiting for when it came in the 67th minute from Szmodics.

Although Stockley levelled the game quickly with a scrappy equaliser three minutes later, it didn’t take anything away from the quality of Szmodics’ strike in front of the South Stand.

“It was a fantastic strike after some really good build-up play,” added McGreal.

“It fell to Sammie on the edge of the box and he hit a terrific strike.

“But it was going to take something like that to beat their keeper because he was excellent.

“Sammie did very well.

“We’ve got him running again because that’s his main attribute.

“He linked up well with Mika (Mandron), which gave a different foil for Sam and he was more in the game.

“It was a good performance, but I thought everyone to a man was excellent.

“We are disappointed (not to get the win) but you can’t take anything away from their keeper.”