AFTER some heavy defeats in the last two months of 2018, the U’s did themselves a power of good with a competitive display against Rangers.

They fell behind when Kai Woolard-Innocent delivered a great cross and Dillon De-Silva arrived from the right to powerfully head into the Colchester net.

Rangers' Jake Trailing tried to run down the left but was well-tackled by Lordon Akolbire.

De-Silva continued to be a threat and, after a good run down the right, Trailing headed wide at the near post.

A great turn on the left by Dejarhn Grant saw him lose his marker and he drove a low cross across the U’s goal face.

However, Marley Miranda managed to get a foot to the ball to toe it away for a corner.

The home side then attacked and won a free-kick on the left but when Ollie Sims got the ball in, it was cleared and the visitors launched a great counter-attack.

After a neat interchange of passes, Trailing got his shot away but he was denied as Callum Coulter made a good save.

De-Silva broke down the right and got past Harvey Sayer, but Billy Cracknell was across to make the tackle.

Cracknell then excelled again, intercepting a ball into the box.

Sayer broke well down the left and got in a decent cross but his delivery was cut out at the near post by Nathan Carlyle.

De-Silva then got clear on the right and found Trailing.

Although Coulter made the save, the ball ran loose for the Rangers player to shoot again.

Although a home defender got a block on the attempt, the ball ran into the net.

The home team needed to respond.

Miranda won the ball and found Sam Cornish but he was well tackled on the point of shooting and then the U’s were rewarded for their endeavour. After they won a free-kick, Casey Petitt and Miranda combined and the ball was fed to Akolbire, who, in turn, passed to Ollie Sims, who, from the right, curled a left-footer into the far corner.

Two minutes after the restart, Colchester should have equalised as Sayer again delivered a quality ball in from the left.

Patino, arriving in the centre, failed to get a foot to it and the chance went begging.

A long ball forward saw home keeper Coulter needing to race out of his area to kick the ball clear.

A pass by Marcus Brooks to Grant saw his shot hit Coulter’s right-hand post but he was offside.

Sayer made a break down the left and was well tackled by De-Silva.

As the U’s broke forward, Hasanally and Akolbire combined down the right but there was a good interception by Trailing.

As De-Silva again broke well down the right, there was a great tackle by Cracknell.

Right on full-time, the home team were reduced to ten players as Rangers broke in down the right.

A bit of a shirt pull and contact on the player saw him go to ground and it was a second yellow for Cracknell.