COLCHESTER United boss John McGreal admits his side paid the price for a 'dozy' first-half display following their 2-1 defeat to Stevenage in the Trophy second round.

The U's produced a flat performance in the opening 45 minutes and found themselves trailing 2-0 at the break, following Jason Cowley's brace.

An own goal by Stevenage defender Chris Stokes gave the U's a lifeline after half-time but they were unable to muster an equaliser, much to McGreal's disappointment.

McGreal said: "We weren't on it in the first half and if you're not on it, you'll get your pockets felt and that's what happened in the first half.

"We've had a couple of crosses flashing across the box that we didn't get on the end of.

"But we looked really dozy in the first half - giving the ball away and being static, making it too easy for Stevenage.

"They picked us off as we gave the ball away.

"Their two boys were willing runners for them and gave us a bit of a lesson, in the first half.

"The second half was a lot better - it was more about how we try and do things and that came from a prep talk, at half-time.

"I didn't make any changes then because I wanted to see a reaction and I felt I saw that.

"The first half was probably one of the worst performances but there's a lot to take from the second-half performance."

Having been second best in the first period, Colchester enjoyed the bulk of the attacking play after half-time.

However, despite the likes of Courtney Senior, Cohen Bramall and Kwame Poku all going close they were unable to level things up.

"We should be scoring a couple more than the one goal we scored in the second half, with the opportunities that we had," added McGreal, who confirmed that striker Luke Norris missed the game because of suspension.

"There was a little bit of rustiness, even in that second half at times.

"We should be putting the ball in the back of the net a few times.

"We didn't get on the end of crosses and that's a big thing for us.

"I think we had 17 crosses in the second half alone.

"Have we got enough bodies in there? If not, are we crossing in the right areas and do we need to pull it back for people to run onto things?

"That's something we'll need to look at in the analysis but the first half was a write off.

"It's tough to chase a 2-0 scoreline down but the boys gave it a go in the second half.

"The first half was nowhere near good enough in terms of the standards of individuals, let alone the team.

"They know that themselves and we're sad to go out, because we know how vital the cup competitions have for us, this year."