COLCHESTER United extended their unbeaten League Two run to four matches with a hard-earned 1-1 draw at Cheltenham Town this afternoon.

Luke Norris gave the U’s a 28th minute lead at Whaddon Road with his seventh goal of the season but that advantage was cancelled out by the Robins after Conor Thomas scored from the spot, following Dean Gerken’s foul on Reuben Reid in the area.

Cheered on by 210 of their fans, it was a well-earned point for the U's against a Cheltenham side who had started the game in sixth position in the table.

Colchester head coach John McGreal made two changes to his starting line-up for their game at Cheltenham Town.

Norris came in up front and former Cheltenham favourite Harry Pell made his first league start since the U’s opening-day draw with Port Vale.

Callum Harriott was on the bench while Ben Stevenson also dropped out but was not among the substitutes.

This was Colchester’s first League Two match for three weeks but it was Cheltenham who looked the sharper of the two sides early on.

The U’s received a big let-off in the sixth minute when centre-back Charlie Raglan’s header came back off the bar from Chris Clements’ corner for the home side.

Clements’ long-range shot dropped wide of Gerken’s post for the hosts soon after, before Colchester carved out their first effort on goal in the 19th minute.

Some good link-up play between Norris and Frank Nouble gave Kwame Poku a sniff of goal at close range but his effort was blocked and the chances went away.

An even contest ensued after that, before Colchester went ahead in the 28th minute.

Norris latched onto Tom Eastman’s good long ball forward that caught the hosts’ defence out and eventually lifted the ball past the oncoming Scott Flinders and in from close range.

It was Norris’s fourth goal in his last three games at Whaddon Road.

Cheltenham responded well to the setback and finished the first half strongly.

U’s keeper Dean Gerken did well to push a shot away from Chris Hussey for a corner while seconds later, Jake Doyle-Hayes’ deflected effort drops just wide of the post for a corner with Gerken at full stretch as the Robins pushed for an equaliser.

But three minutes before half-time, Colchester missed a glorious chance to score.

Courtney Senior was sent through on goal brilliantly by Poku but fired low and wide of the far post, leaving a frustrated boss McGreal with his head in his hands.

However, Cheltenham squandered an equally gilt-edged chance, a minute later.

Alex Addai’s downward header went straight at Gerken from four yards after Doyle-Hayes had curled in a fine ball into the six-yard box.

But Colchester went in ahead at the break prompting Cheltenham boss Michael Duff to make a double change at half-time, sending on Reuben Reid and Gavin Reilly for Alex Addai and Jonte Smith in a bid to find an equaliser.

The hosts’ two substitutes combined in the opening minutes of the second half and almost found an equaliser when Reid’s shot flew inches wide of the far post, from Reilly’s assist.

And on the hour mark, Broom's cross flew dangerously across the face of the U's six-yard box with Reilly inches away from connecting.

Colchester reminded their hosts that they were still dangerous as an attacking force midway through the second half when Eastman fired into the side netting at the far post from Cohen Bramall’s free-kick.

But Cheltenham equalised with 19 minutes remaining through Conor Thomas, who scored from the spot after Gerken was adjudged to have fouled Reid in the area after he had escaped the attention of the U’s defence.

Jacob Greaves headed a good chance over for Cheltenham with ten minutes remaining from Hussey’s curled delivery, as Colchester sent on Callum Harriott, Luke Gambin and Tom Lapslie in the closing stages.

Both sides went for a winner as the clock ticked down but the spoils were shared.