COLCHESTER United extended their unbeaten start to the new League Two season with a hard-earned 1-1 draw at Barrow this afternoon.

It was the tale of two wonder strikes at the Progression Solicitors Stadium, with Noah Chilvers’ excellent first-half goal cancelled out by an equally superb strike by Bluebirds’ Mike Jones, just after the break.

Colchester may feel that they did enough to have taken all three points from a competitive contest but the home side had their chances to win it too, in the second half.

Nevertheless, it was another good away point for the U’s, who are looking well organised under new head coach Steve Ball.

Ball made one change to his starting line-up for their game at Barrow.

Callum Harriott was recalled to the side at the expense of Luke Gambin, who was on the bench.

Striker Luke Norris was also among the substitutes but captain Harry Pell missed out again, due to injury.

Scott Quigley looked lively throughout the first half for Barrow and fired a low shot just past the far post for the hosts in the seventh minute.

But Colchester, whose last trip to play at Barrow in the league was back in November, 1971, warmed to the task.

And they came close to taking the lead in the 17th minute through Harriott, whose first-time shot was tipped over the bar by keeper Joel Dixon for a corner after the winger had been picked out by Courtney Senior on the edge of the box.

Chilvers’ low long-range shot through a crowded area was saved by Dixon soon after but Barrow were not without their opportunities, with danger man Quigley heading a difficult chance wide at the far post with the goal gaping following a corner.

The deadlock was broken in the 34th minute – and in some style.

Chilvers hammered a superb left-foot shot past Dixon from the edge of the area after Barrow had failed to clear their lines.

It was the youngster’s first-ever senior goal and a magnificent way to get off the mark.

It meant Colchester went in ahead at the break but Barrow needed little more than eight minutes of the second half to draw level.

After the ball dropped to him 25 yards from goal, experienced midfielder Jones lashed a magnificent shot into the top corner leaving Gerken with no chance.

It was the first league goal U's have conceded in nearly four hours of football this season but it was a magnificent strike and one that they could have done little about.

The U’s responded well to the setback and almost regained their lead just before the hour when Cohen Bramall's free-kick was heading inside the near post from the edge of the area until the diving Dixon stretched out an arm to push it away for a corner.

But at the other end, there was a scare for the U's after Dior Angus went down under stand-in skipper Tommy Smith's challenge in the area but the referee Sam Barrott waved away the hosts' claims.

Colchester sent on Norris for Senior just after the hour mark, with Jevani Brown dropping into his favoured number ten role as a result.

But Barrow came a lick of paint from taking the lead midway through the second half when Quigley's fine curled shot from the edge of the area rattled the post for Barrow, with Gerken motionless.

Only a fine block from Tom Eastman denied Lewis Hardcastle in the area as both sides pushed for a winner.

Miles Welch-Hayes had a great chance to score a late winner for the U's when he headed Bramall's corner over from close range amid protestations for a corner, but the spoils were shared.