IN any normal circumstances, there might have been considerable disquiet among their support base had Colchester United failed to register a shot on goal over the course of 90 minutes.

But this was no normal game.

For the U’s to hold a Tottenham Hotspur side, who were Champions League finalists less than four months ago, packed full of internationals and placed 71 places above them in the football pyramid, to a goal-less draw and then beat them on penalties, this was a memorable occasion indeed – and undoubtedly a magnificent achievement.

What Colchester’s performance somewhat inevitably lacked in goalscoring opportunities and possession, it was more than made up for by endeavour, discipline, hard work and above all, belief.

There was also quality on show too and there were moments, particularly in the second half when the tie became more stretched, that the U’s attack really worried Spurs.

Much like their excellent display in their previous round of the Carabao Cup when they humbled Premier League club Crystal Palace on their own turf, the U’s produced another superb all-round team performance where everyone played their part.

After scoring what proved to be the crucial winning penalty, Tom Lapslie inevitably grabbed the headlines as did goalkeeper Dean Gerken, who pulled off a magnificent save to deny Christian Eriksen at the very beginning of the shoot-out to send Colchester on their way.

But this was not a night about individual players – it was about a fantastic team effort where everyone deserves huge credit, not least boss John McGreal.

The U’s head coach set up his team against that of Mauricio Pochettino – widely regarded as one of the best managers in the world – and helped the U’s become the first lower-ranked side to inflict a domestic cup defeat on the Argentine since he came to England with Southampton, in 2013.

McGreal once again picked a team and installed an approach which helped to frustrate top-flight opponents.

His decision to play Ben Stevenson, Brandon Comley and Tom Lapslie in what was effectively a midfield triangle worked perfectly and provided the bedrock for a solid display.

And the fact that Colchester have not conceded in 180 minutes of football against Premier League opposition is no coincidence.

Their defensive record has been excellent this season, their back four spearheaded brilliantly by the outstanding Tom Eastman who seemed to get in the way of everything that Spurs threw at the U’s.

Colchester and their fans deserved their animated celebration at the end of the shoot-out.

The U’s had been pretty much starved of cup success at the venue prior to this season and this was undoubtedly a night to remember at the JobServe Community Stadium and what the ground was made for, when it was built back in 2008.

The scenes at the end will live long in the memory of those who were there and will hopefully attract more supporters to the club for their League Two campaign.

Now all thoughts will turn to a trip to Macclesfield Town this weekend, where Colchester will have to put their cup giant-killing exploits to one side as they go in search of a third straight league win.

McGreal will ensure that his players do not get distracted from the task in hand.

Nevertheless, their superb cup run can act as a catalyst for more impressive league form.

Colchester are the first lower league side to progress from two penalty shoot-outs against Premier League opposition in a League Cup campaign since the 2012-13 season.

The last team to do that were Bradford City, who went on to reach the final that year.

If the U’s repeat their performances against Spurs and Crystal Palace in the next round, they might well start dreaming of achieving the same feat.