TEN-MAN Colchester United under-23s lost out 3-0 to Wigan Athletic this afternoon at a rain-sodden Florence Park, writes BRIAN WALLER.

A U's side featuring the likes of Michael Fernandes, Cameron James and Louis Dunne were unable to prevent the hosts from losing in their Professional Development League Two opener.

They played well in the opening half hour but captain Matthew Weaire's first-half dismissal for deliberate handball in the box started their demise, as the Latics took full advantage.

Indeed, prior to that Weaire had made two good powerful headers clear and Colchester sorely missed his presence at the back.

Tyler Golden pulled his shot wide of the left hand post early on for Wigan while at the other end, Danny Collinge's header from Ryan Clampin's cross was straight into the arms of Athletic’s keeper James Aspinall.

The visitors were so close to taking the lead on 17 minutes when Joe Piggott's superb strike rattled Bailey Vose’s right hand post.

Piggott then went close again, but his effort was blocked by Clampin.

Dunne sent a 25-yard free-kick over the bar for Colchester, who nearly went ahead when Kwame Poku was denied as Aspinall made a good save low to his left and pushing the ball clear.

The game dramatically changed on the half hour mark.

After Weaire was indecisive in his own box he was robbed of possession.

When the ball was laid back to a team-mate, in trying to correct his error Weaire stretched across and blocked the shot with his arm.

He was duly sent off and Piggott duly despatched the penalty kick low to Vose’s right.

Despite the shock of going behind and conceding, Colchester went close soon after through Dunne, who was denied by Wigan keeper Aspinall who clawed the ball away.

Colchester went in at the break behind and any hopes of a revival were soon to be extinguished, as Wigan doubled their lead.

In his attempts to hook a deep cross clear, Collinge merely sent his attempt towards his own goal, for Piggott to convert from very close range.

Colchester then went very close again.

Vose's throw out saw a storming run down the left by Dean Ager but he was denied as Aspinall saved low down to his left to push away for a corner.

Fernandes flashed a shot wide before Wigan wrapped up victory, with 21 minutes remaining.

They built well down the left and Piggott's pass allowed Olly Crankshaw to slip a shot past Vose and in.

Clampin headed over the bar and Luke Ige saw his effort blocked.

But Piggott's rasping drive flew just over late on, as the U's were beaten.

U's under-23: Vose, Ige, Collinge, Weaire, Clampin, Ager, Dunne, James, Fernandes, Poku (sub Kazeem), Hutchinson (sub Anderson). Subs (not used): Sims, Cracknell, Coulter.