COLCHESTER United's under-23s were beaten 2-1 by Wigan Athletic in their latest Professional Development League Two clash this afternoon, writes BRIAN WALLER.

Harvey Sayer was on target for the U's on a bitterly cold and windy afternoon at Maldon and Tiptree FC's Park Drive ground.

Sayer went close early on with shot that the Wigan keeper Sam Tickle did well to block at his near post.

And at the other end, Colchester keeper Ted Collins was out well to block at the feet of the Wigan forward.

But Colchester kept pressing and Tom Stagg went very close, sending his left-foot effort just wide of Tickle's right hand post, after a neat one two.

The U's had a penalty appeal rejected when defender Billy Cracknell appeared to be helped to the ground in the area.

And on the half hour mark the hosts twice went close from the same move as a cross from the left saw shots blocked by the keeper and a defender.

Sayer was again a danger down the right with his pace and cutting back inside, his shot was going over the bar.

However, there was to be a dramatic end to the first half.

After a through ball saw indecision between Collins and his central defender the ball ran loose and the Wigan centre-forward, Trialist C, had the simple job of putting the ball into an empty net, two minutes before the break.

But Colchester responded almost immediately.

Sayer's free-kick deep out on the right seemed to elude everybody and ended up in the far corner of the net, to ensure the U's went in level at the break.

Wigan started to pose problems early in the second half as a powerful drive from the right saw Collins struggling to deal with it, as the ball sprung from his hands momentarily but it came to nothing.

But Colchester continued to press and a cross from the left saw Marley Marshall-Miranda just unable to get his foot to the ball.

The hosts then had another penalty shout rejected after Tom Stagg appeared to be held in the box.

Colchester were reduced to ten players just after the hour mark when a very well-struck shot hit the arm of Lordan Akolbire, who was shown a red card and a penalty was awarded.

Although Collins saved this down to his right, substitute Harry McHugh was able to put away the rebound.

Wigan came close to making it 3-1 when a fierce shot by the centre-forward was superbly tipped up in the air by Collins and then held and Colchester were unable to muster another equaliser.

Colchester under-23s: Ted Collins, Lordan Akolbire, Billy Cracknell. Trialist, Frankie Terry, Andre Hasanally, Gene Kennedy (sub Jake Hutchinson), Sam Cornish, Harvey Sayer, Marley Marshall-Miranda, Tom Stagg.

Wigan Athletic under-23s: Sam Tickle, Kieran Lloyd, Marcus Snell, Trialist A, Trialist B, Adam Long, Dan Smith, Alex Perry, Trialist C, Trialist D and McKenzie O’Neill with used subs: Harry McHugh, Jason Fulton, Tom Costello. Unused subs: Owen Mooney and Harry McGee