COLCHESTER United's play-off hopes took another hit this afternoon after they were beaten 2-0 at Bury.

A second-half brace from Dom Telford sealed the U's fate at Gigg Lane, in front of more than 300 U’s fans.

Colchester were well in the game at half-time following an even first period but the hosts stepped up a gear after the break, to leave the U's beaten.

Colchester head coach John McGreal made four changes to his side for their game against Bury.

Sam Saunders was handed his first-ever U’s start in midfield, while Frank Nouble and Mikael Mandron also returned.

There was also a recall for goalkeeper Rene Gilmartin who returned between the sticks in place of Dillon Barnes, who was on the bench.

Luke Norris, Ben Stevenson and Abo Eisa were also among the substitutes.

Colchester made a bright start and almost went ahead after 50 seconds.

Bury defender Will Aimson cleared off the line with Nouble lurking at the far post, after Courtney Senior had been released by Sammie Szmodics and driven the ball into the six yard box.

Saunders ballooned a shot well over the bar from distance before Colchester came close to scoring again in the ninth minute through Tom Lapslie, whose fine left-foot effort from 25 yards brilliantly tipped over by Bury goalkeeper Joe Murphy.

A minute later, Szmodics’ low effort from 20 yards flew straight at Murphy but after that, Bury started to warm to the task.

Colchester right-back Ryan Jackson almost turned the ball into his own net at the far post after Nicky Adams’ deep cross eluded everyone in the area.

And just before the half hour, Jay O’Shea saw his free-kick fly just wide from just over 20 yards for the hosts.

A few minutes later, the impressive Lapslie made a fantastic double block in the area to prevent O’Shea from shooting on sight, after Gilmartin had only palmed away Neil Danns’ cross.

And just before half-time, Frankie Kent was on hand to head the ball away from under his own crossbar after Gilmartin had failed to connect with Adams’ cross, as the sides went in goal-less at the break.

Bury made a change at the break, sending on Byron Moore for Callum McFadzean as they went in search of an opener.

The hosts started the second half well and three minutes after the restart, Gilmartin made a good save to deny Dom Telford after he had been sent through by Adams’ cutting pass.

But Telford was not to be denied two minutes later when he headed in his side’s opener, after Nicky Maynard had helped Adams’ corner into his path.

Colchester responded well to the setback and came agonisingly close to equalising just before the hour when Saunders’ long-range effort rattled the bar, with Murphy beaten.

But Gilmartin had to come out smartly to deny Maynard in the area just before the hour and Bury continued to look menacing.

And soon after skipper Luke Prosser had limped off and been replaced by Tom Eastman, the U’s fell further behind midway through the second half.

Telford stooped to send a low header past Gilmartin from Maynard's fine cross, to leave Colchester with it all to do.

Norris and Dickenson were both sent on in a bid to get Colchester back into the game and Saunders had a free-kick pushed away by Murphy, in the final stages.

But Colchester were unable to get back into the game, as they suffered a fifth defeat in six matches.