COLCHESTER United ensured that their play-off chase will go down to the final day of the season following a hugely impressive 2-0 victory over automatic promotion-chasing MK Dons.

Goals early in each half from Sammie Szmodics and Frankie Kent gave the U's an excellent win, in front of a crowd of 5,000 at the JobServe Community Stadium.

It means that Colchester will head to newly-crowned champions Lincoln City on the final day of the season still with a chance of reaching the top seven, with Exeter City still occupying the coveted fourth and final play-off spot following today's results.

Colchester boss John McGreal made one change to his side for their game against MK Dons.

Ethan Ross was handed his first-ever league start in goal, in place of the suspended Dillon Barnes.

Brennan Dickenson continued at left-back in place of Kane Vincent-Young, who missed out again because of an abdominal injury.

Colchester, backed by a colourful South Stand who gave the players a raucous reception, were looking to make a rapid start to the contest.

And they were in dreamland after taking the lead after just 95 seconds.

MK Dons only cleared Saunders' corner to the edge of the area and Szmodics controlled before drilling a low shot past keeper Lee Nicholls and in.

It was a great start for McGreal’s men and they almost doubled their lead, seven minutes later.

Some more brilliant play by Szmodics saw him thread a ball through to Nouble, who could only fire a great chance straight at Nicholls.

Colchester continue to threaten and midway through the first half, Nouble picked up possession just inside the Dons half and advanced towards goal before dragging a low shot just wide of the far post.

The U’s were battling and scrapping for everything, putting everything into the game.

But Dons almost grabbed an equaliser just before the half hour mark when David Wheeler slammed a shot against the bar from close range after Callum Brittain had picked him out.

Ousseynou Cisse headed wide at the far post from Jordan Houghton’s free-kick but just before the break, Colchester almost made it 2-0.

Courtney Senior captialised on Dean Lewington’s mistake just inside his own half and beat Conor McGrandles for pace, only to see his low shot denied by Nicholls.

Dons made a change at the break, sending on Chuks Aneke for Ryan Harley.

But within three minutes of the second half, the U’s had doubled their lead.

Stand-in skipper Kent made a surging run from defence, to start off an attacking move.

And after Nouble and Szmodics had done well to keep the move alive, Kent finished confidently past Nicholls.

It was almost 3-0 when Szmodics saw his deflected effort spin just wide of the post soon after, as Colchester were good value for their lead.

Conor McGrandles' effort flashed just wide of the far post for the Dons with the aid of a deflection and the visitors upped the tempo, as the second half wore on.

But Senior wasted a golden opportunity to wrap up victory with 18 minutes remaining when he was denied by Nicholls, after picking up possession just inside the Dons half and racing through on goal.

Dons sub Aneke hit the post with a curled effort with 12 minutes to go and Kieran Agard put the rebound into the net, only to see the effort ruled out for offside.

The visitors continued to push for a route back into the contest as the clock ticked down but Colchester almost sealed their victory near the end when Szmodics and substitute Ben Stevenson were both denied by Nicholls in quick succession, as the hosts claimed a big win.