SAMMIE McLeod scored Colchester United under-23s' consolation goal as they fell to a 3-1 defeat at Bristol City this afternoon, writes BRIAN WALLER.

Richard Hall's side, which also included the likes of Ollie Kensdale, Michael Fernandes and Jake Hutchinson, made the long trip West to face the Robins in their latest Professional Development League Two clash, at the WSM FC Optima Stadium.

It was the first meeting of this season but City were Colchester’s last opponents from the 2019/20 campaign when the season was suspended in March 2020, securing a 2-0 win at the Jobserve Community Stadium.

The hosts began the match well and Sam Pearson forced visiting keeper Endurance Johnson into an early save.

He did well to meet Joe Low's threaded pass but couldn't find the corner of the goal with the shot.

Although at this stage the Robins had not taken the lead they were certainly posing all the problems.

Louis Britton picked out Ayman Benarous who steadied himself before getting in an effort which keeper Johnson did well to tip over the bar.

The U's back-up under-18s keeper was being kept very busy as that had been a good save by him, but minutes later the visitors went behind.

Colchester fell behind when home captain Zac Smith slipped the ball home after 24 minutes.

It did not take the hosts long to score again as 12 minutes later, Louis Britton rose high to head Josh Ower’s cross into the far corner of the net.

And right on half-time, City got a third goal as Sam Pearson put away the chance with a right foot conversion.

Colchester had it all to do now and looked very unlikely to repeat the success that they had on their last trip there last season when they won 3-2 in September, 2019.

Into the second half and the hosts nearly scored a fourth goal as Pearson's cross found Britton who held the ball well and laid it into the path of Marlee Francois but his attempt sailed over the bar.

Francois then sent in a great cross from the right but Pearson sent his header straight at keeper Johnson.

Then from a Francois corner, defender Ryley Towler failed to hit the target with a close-range header.

Former U’s loanee Freddie Hinds was sent on by the hosts for Britton and with just under a quarter of an hour in the game left, the U’s got a goal back with 16 minutes to go through McLeod, who profited from Hutchinson's assist to score.

Home coach Alex Ball made two late changes as Joe Low and Francois were replaced by Callum Wood and Dylan Kadji.

Late in the game, Pearson did well down the left and picked out Smith in the penalty area.

The captain got a shot on target while off balance but the ball kissed the post and the U's cleared the danger.

City claimed a comfortable home success to move up to second in the table.

So the U’s make the long trip back from the Weston-Super-Mare venue and turn their attentions to their next match, a home clash with Watford next Monday.

U's under-23: Endurance Johnson, Martins, Ollie Kensdale, Matt Tricker, Danny Collinge, Matt Weaire, Ollie Sims, Jake Hutchinson, Jon Gilbert, Andre Hasanally, Sammie McLeod, Aaron Brown, Michael Fernandes and Sam Cornish.