COLCHESTER United head coach John McGreal was disappointed with the controversial penalty that was awarded against his side after they played out a 1-1 draw with Cheltenham Town this afternoon.

The U’s had led through Luke Norris’s first-half effort at Whaddon Road but had to settle for a point, after Conor Thomas levelled from the spot in the second half.

The spot-kick was awarded against Colchester after Cheltenham substitute Reuben Reid went down under goalkeeper Dean Gerken’s challenge in the area.

McGreal said: “We’ve had a look at it again and it doesn’t look a penalty.

“The way the boy (Reuben Reid) reacts it looks like he’s not going to get the ball and goes down but the referee is telling us that there’s contact.

“It looks like one of their players is offside who is interfering (in the lead up to the penalty being given).

“Then it looks as though the lad (Reid) knows he’s not going to get the ball - then Gerks (Dean Gerken) is on the floor and the lad is a couple of yards away from him and then decides to go down.”

Colchester extended their unbeaten run in League Two to four matches after the draw at Cheltenham, who have lost only once at home in the league since January.

McGreal added: “It’s a well-earned point especially on the balance of the second half and the way it went.

“We knew that they would try and dominate the ball and I thought in the first half we looked a threat and should be scoring more goals really.

“Courtney (Senior) going through right on half-time put a pin on us a little bit and we looked a little bit deflated after that.

“We tried to get them going after that in the second half and they’ve had to adapt and change their shape a couple of times.

“Yes they had the majority of the ball but there was no way through and it was a very resilient team performance.”

Norris bagged his seventh goal of the season to give Colchester the lead, after both he and team-mate Courtney Senior had raced onto a fine Tom Eastman through ball that dissected the home defence.

McGreal added: “We’ve worked on things through the week to try and get in there and it’s a great finish by Luke.

“I was hoping that Courtney (Senior) wouldn’t touch it because I thought then he would be offside.

“But he had his head screwed on and let Nos put the ball in the net."