FRANK Nouble's penalty earned Colchester United a hard-fought point following a 1-1 draw at lowly Macclesfield Town this afternoon.

Nouble struck for the third time in as many games to seal a share of the spoils for John McGreal's promotion-chasing side, in front of 263 U's fans at the Moss Rose.

The U's had to come from behind to secure a draw, after Scott Wilson had blasted Sol Campbell's Silkmen ahead just before half-time.

Colchester head coach John McGreal made one change to his line-up for their game against Macclesfield Town.

Tom Lapslie was recalled to the side in midfield in place of Harry Pell, who was ruled out with a hamstring injury.

Macclesfield started the game joint bottom of League Two but they made a bright start, pinning the U’s in their own half in the opening minutes.

Harry Smith’s third-minute header from Koby Arthur’s deep cross sailed straight at Colchester keeper Rene Gilmartin and that was a sign of what was to come for much of the first half.

Colchester threatened Macclesfield’s goal at times in the early stages, with Nouble firing a shot well wide after Courtney Senior had capitalised on David Fitzpatrick’s weak pass on the edge of his own area and picked him out.

And soon after, Senior found space 25 yards from goal and fired in a low shot that goalkeeper Kieran O’Hara easily dealt with.

But Colchester skipper Luke Prosser almost scored an own goal in the ninth minute when his attempted back-pass from the edge of his own area sailed inches wide for a corner.

And Arthur fired over from long range for the Silkmen, after the U’s had only partially cleared former Colchester defender Michael Rose’s free-kick into the area.

Silkmen were getting plenty of crosses into the area looking to find Smith and the hosts had the better of it in the first half.

At times, the U's struggled to get out of their own half and create chances and they almost fell behind on the half hour when Rose's low 30-yard shot turned around the post for a corner by the diving Gilmartin.

Colchester did come very close to taking the lead just after the half hour mark when Nouble's flicked header at the far post from Ben Stevenson’s corner was palmed away superbly by O’Hara for another corner.

But the U’s were fired another warning eight minutes before the break when Smith scuffed wide at the first attempt after getting a glimpse of goal after Reece Cole had done well to send him through.

And Colchester fell behind just before the break when Wilson exchanged passes with Smith and powerfully fired home, leaving Gilmartin with no chance.

It was the first goal that the U’s had conceded in more than three and a half hours of football.

McGreal decided to change things at the break, bringing on defender Tom Eastman for Abo Eisa and switching to three at the back, in a bid to get back into the game.

And it took less than a minute to pay dividends, as Senior’s mazy run into the area resulted in him being brought down by Brice Ntambewe and a penalty being awarded.

In the absence of regular penalty-taker Pell, striker Nouble stepped up to score from the spot and bag his third goal in as many games to draw Colchester level.

Colchester were forced into a second change soon after when Lapslie limped off and was replaced by Diaz Wright in midfield.

Nouble blasted over the bar from a good position after a great run into the area by Vincent-Young had set him up, as the U's went in search of a winner.

But Macclesfield still looked dangerous and Gilmartin made two decent stops to foil Cole in the space of a few minutes, as the clock ticked down.

The home crowd shouted in vain for a penalty after Smith went down under Prosser's challenge in the area with five minutes to go.

But neither side was able to find a winner, as the U's had to settle for a draw.