COLCHESTER United boss John McGreal has admitted his side had not practised penalties prior to their shoot-out victory at Crystal Palace.

The U's shocked their Premier League opponents, winning 5-4 on spot-kicks at Selhurst Park after the Carabao Cup second-round tie had finished 0-0 after 90 minutes.

After U's keeper Dean Gerken had saved Andros Townsend's opening penalty, Luke Norris, Frank Nouble, Jevani Brown and Paris Cowan-Hall all converted before Noah Chilvers showed ice-cool nerves to slot away the decisive spot-kick and send McGreal's side through to the third round of the League Cup for the first time since 2004.

McGreal said: "We didn't practice the penalties beforehand.

"You can see we made the sub right on 90 minutes with Paris (Cowan-Hall) coming on.

"The surprise one was Noah (Chilvers) coming on but I said to him 'you've been in and around it for a while now' and there was no question about him coming on for Beni (Stevenson).

"He was the next one in the line and I just said to him 'opportunity knocks' and I didn't want to take it away from him.

"He took the winning penalty under pressure and credit to him.

"You have to have some guts to take one - I wasn't able to take one!

"I was a defender - Noah's a creative midfielder and it should come second nature to him.

"It's not we haven't practised them - we know what technique Noah has got.

"Look at the other penalties, too.

"For us to score the five out of five is a credit to us and I'm a firm believer that we wanted to get through.

"We didn't want to just get to 90 minutes and think 'unlucky'.

"We wanted to get through, with Gerks making that first save straight away.

"I saw the first pen saved by Gerks (Dean Gerken) and then I saw Nos (Luke Norris) slot his away - then I thought it was time for me to sit down and take a breather.

"I've won on penalties and lost on penalties and I'm delighted.

"We had Dean Gerken in goal for us and he's a Championship goalkeeper.

"He has high standards in training and high standards in the game.

"The boys listen to him when he has things to say and he's made one or two good saves for us today.

"You can go right the way through the team and hopefully we can get a nice draw."

Colchester had more than held their own against a strong Palace side packed full of international players.

Gerken had to made several good saves and Christian Benteke struck the underside of the bar for the Eagles but the U's had their opportunities too, with Ryan Clampin and Luke Prosser both going close.

"We didn't want to be sitting ducks," added McGreal.

"We wanted to show what we could do.

"We think we're a good football team and we take plaudits right through our division.

"We were able to show that.

"I've just been speaking to (former Palace striker) Mark Bright and he's given us brilliant plaudits for our performance, not just defensively but also the way we took the game to them.

"I thought we had a big lion's share of the possession, especially in the first half."