A LATE Ollie Sims penalty helped Colchester United under-18s claim a 1- draw at Crystal Palace, in Professional Development League Two, writes BRIAN WALLER.

After a couple of recent good wins in the Eastern Junior Alliance Cup at Coggeshall Town and a friendly success at Norwich City, the U’s travelled for their latest league match in a more confident mood.

They went looking for their first league win of the season against a Palace team just one place above them in the table but ten points ahead of them in ninth position.

Colchester lined up in a 3-5-2 formation and this did not seem to work too well, as the home team continued to pose problems down their right.

In the opening 15 minutes keeper Chandler Hallett was kept very busy making several good saves but was unable to prevent the Palace goal.

Colchester then changed to a 4-5-1 formation and this seemed to work a lot better and as the half progressed, things began to improve for them.

Right on half-time, there was a good chance for striker Jake Hutchinson but he was robbed on the point of shooting.

The second half saw a very open game and this saw the U’s excel as they created chances and defended superbly.

There were to be some very good performances in the defence with George Wind, Billy Cracknell, Kyle Jopling and Josh Fouche playing well.

With striker Jake Hutchinson having probably his best match of the season and with some good support for him by the trialist winger, the visitors were rewarded late in the match.

After a foul in the penalty area on Sam Cornish, the resulting spot-kick was duly despatched by Sims and it was a fitting reward for the team who now look forward to their derby at Ipswich Town this weekend.