FRIDAY night football, but sadly not as we know it with half days taken off work, rushing to get ready and heading off into the autumn afternoon following the fortunes of the U’s on the road.

But alas strange times call for a new normal and the sofa beckoned, with the iPad to follow in the digital stand of iFollow.

It does save the travel, but that is about the only plus point, with all that the away day brings there is nothing that can really replace the beautiful game under the lights.

But enough of my woes and reminiscing of when fans were allowed. Colchester United still had a job to do on the road with Mansfield playing hosts.

The Stags have had a rough start to the season and their league position shows this.

But they are under new management, with Nigel Clough taking over and has really got them playing well, just ask Sunderland fans after their recent defeat in the cup.

So if anyone was going to be the visitors for Clough’s first home game in charge of course, it would be us.

Mansfield played as expected under the new reign, playing some decent attacking football at times as well as being hard for the U’s to break down.

Half-time saw the score at 0-0 with Noah Chilvers coming closest.

The second half proved to bring more of the same, with both sides having chances and the hosts finally breaking the deadlock after a shot from outside the box finding the back of the net, with George Lapslie (brother of our very own Tom Lapslie) providing the assist.

At this point, Steve Ball had seen enough and proceeded to make a number of changes over the next ten minutes and these changes proved to be instrumental in the U’s gaining a point.

With two of the substitutes combining after Luke Norris beat the out rushing keeper with a chip, thanks to a decent assist from Callum Harriott.

This was enough to settle the game and it was honours even, a fair outcome against a team that will be a dark horse for the play-offs given their change in set-up.

One thing that was different on Friday was that it was the first game since the EFL voted in the five sub rule, increasing it from three to five.

It was something that we used to our advantage by making four on Friday, and as I have already said, two of them were key in getting our equalising goal.

This new rule will be a massive advantage for us this season.

We have very strong attacking players that are in and around the starting XI while not everyone can start.

This new rule gives a lot more options for the management to change things and mix it up if the game is not going to plan, or indeed it will help manage any niggles and injuries that last season lads would have been forced to maybe play through and aggravate further.

All we need to do is hope that there are no further long-term injuries picked up and that with the squad at full strength the players that do miss out on starting are able to, when called upon come off the bench, make an impact.

That not only gets us the win, but also gives Steve headaches of a good kind over who to start in the next game.

I could not finish without mentioning Tuesday night's game. We travel to Exeter, the place of so much disappointment last term with the defeat in the play-offs - let's up that, this time round.

We can get the win, not only for the points, but also to banish the demons of last season's heartbreak and show how much we have improved and stake our case for that one step further with promotion. Up the U’s.