COLCHESTER United suffered FA Cup heartache after losing 2-0 in their first-round tie against former winners Coventry City.

The Sky Blues netted twice in the opening half-hour to make safe and comfortable progress into Monday’s draw.

It was a blow for the U’s, who went into the match on the back of three straight wins – scoring three goals on each occasion.

However, they were brought back to earth by a Coventry side that registered their first away win of the season, stretching their unbeaten run to six games, with a dominant display in north Essex.

Colchester boss John McGreal kept faith with an unchanged starting line-up but made two alterations on the bench.

Harry Pell and Ryan Clampin were replaced by Brendan Sarpong-Wiredu and Luke Norris, with the former of that quartet looking likely to continue his comeback from injury in Tuesday’s Trophy derby against Ipswich Town.

McGreal may have been more inclined to rest players had the U’s got a fixture next Saturday.

Instead, they now have a rare weekend off, with international call-ups leading to the postponement of their scheduled home fixture against Bradford City.

The U’s have been a revelation in this year's Carabao Cup, eliminating Premier League pair Crystal Palace and Tottenham Hotspur on route to an eagerly awaited quarter-final at mighty Manchester United.

However, they unable were unable to sprinkle any of that magic in this season’s FA Cup, bowing out at the first hurdle for the fourth year in a row and the sixth time in eight seasons.

In truth, the game was effectively over within half an hour.

Coventry dominated the first half and it was no surprise to see them take such a stranglehold, albeit their second goal was a tough fortuitous.

The Sky Blues’ opener came on 11 minutes, after a clever ball over the top from Zain Westbrooke.

He spotted the darting run of Jordan Shipley, who took a touch before rifling home in emphatic style.

Dean Gerken, who had just made a diving save from the same player, got a hand to it but was unable to keep the ball out.

It was no more than the visitors’ deserved, having bossed the early stages, and their second duly followed just before the half-hour mark.

Sam McCallum took a free-kick from deep on the right but his intended ball into the danger zone somehow evaded everyone and nestled inside the far corner.

It was a bodyblow for the hosts, who were unable to find any rhythm.

Scoring chances were few and far between for them, with their best efforts being a long-range strike from Cohen Bramall that flashed just wide and a drive from Callum Harriott that forced a rare save from Ben Wilson.

If anything, Coventry looked more likely to add a third and Westbrooke was denied by Gerken.

Then, in the second half, Liam Kelly curled just wide before the outside of the left-hand post rescued Colchester, following a low, drilled effort from the busy Westbrooke.

One last chance fell to substitute Callum O’Hare, after connecting with a low right-wing cross.

However, he wasn’t able to get sufficient power on his close-range effort and Gerken had time to pounce on the ball.