Colchester United boss John McGreal admitted he was hurting after his side missed out on the League Two play-offs in agonising fashion on the final day of the season this afternoon.

The U's claimed a superb 3-0 victory at champions Lincoln City and for a long time looked destined to take the fourth and final play-off place, with results going for them elsewhere.

But Newport County scored a late equaliser to draw 1-1 at Morecambe and claim seventh spot, ending the U's dream of promotion for another season.

McGreal said: "With results elsewhere it does hurt but it is what it is and you have to move on quickly in football.

"We have a summer now to move on and contracts to sort out and targets to try and bring in.

"That's how we try and move forward with the club and want to keep evolving as a club.

"It's our highest points and wins total for a number of years - we've got 70 points and 19 clean sheets.

"It's gutting and it's twice that it's happened to me in three years, going into the last game of the season and reliant on the others and them scoring late to get into the play-offs.

"We were the team with a bit of momentum and I think teams would have feared us, especially Mansfield being so close and missing out.

"They would have been the team we'd have played but we move on."

Colchester produced an outstanding display at Lincoln, one which left the champions Lincoln stunned.

Sammie Szmodics' brace and Brennan Dickenson's opener gave the U's a three-goal lead at half-time and they were well worth their win in the end.

"On the performance, I thought we were absolutely outstanding," said McGreal.

"From the first kick, we set ourselves out.

"There had been a bit of needle with Danny (Cowley) saying some unkind words about our football club and it lit a bit of fuel to the fire really.

"In all years of being a manager and a player, I've come to a team that have won the league quite convincingly and they're getting booed off at half-time.

"It was a little bit surreal and we blew them away but it shows you just how well we did.

"We could have scored three goals before we scored our first so performance-wise we've always said we wanted to go to the champions and win and we've been able to do that.

"We've played some unbelievable stuff at times but we blew them away in the first half.

"I heard them in the tunnel and they didn't want the guard of honour - I made sure my staff and players gave them that because we want to do things the right way."