DEAN Gerken featured as Colchester United's under-23s drew 1-1 with Southend United in their latest Premier League Cup game, at the JobServe Community Stadium, writes BRIAN WALLER.

The experienced U's goalkeeper was between the sticks for Richard Hall and Dave Huzzey's side, as they shared the spoils in their second group game in the competition following their opening group game 4-2 at Stoke City.

Jimmy Wallace fired a shot just wide early on for Southend while at the other end, Frankie Terry's header was held at his near post by keeper Harry Seaden.

Southend took the lead after 17 minutes through Bobby Unwin, who scored with a precise header on the far post from Oliver Coker's cross.

The visitors were creating all the chances and came close to adding to their lead on three occasions.

Unwin's cross-shot flashed over the bar, before another very dangerous ball from the left flew across the U’s goal and Al-Amin Kazeem cleared the danger under pressure.

The Blues then saw a header strike Gerken’s left-hand post, before being cleared away for a corner.

Colchester went in at the break trailing but they improved after the break and most of the home danger came from Harvey Sayer.

He went close to equalising when he cut in from the wing and sent a left-foot effort just over the bar, after being fed by Marley Marshall-Miranda.

At the other end, Gerken saved well from Matthew Rush.

A few minutes later, a long ball down the centre saw Gerken rush out but the ball was touched past him and Kazeem did well to hold off the attention of Demaray Anyadike to clear from the goalmouth.

Colchester went close again when Jake Hutchinson and Kacy Parish linked down the right to set up Bryan Ifeanyi but his attempt flew just over the bar.

However, the U's did draw level on 67 minutes through Terry, who headed into the net from Sayer's free-kick.

Gerken saved a long-range effort from the right at his near post and then stopped a deflected Anyadike effort, before a Coker free-kick struck the U's defensive wall.

Sayer's free-kick sailed straight into Seaden's arms late on, as the spoils were shared.

U's under-23: Gerken, Parish, Cracknell, Terry, Kazeem, Marshall-Miranda, Hasanally (sub Bennett, 60), Ifeanyi, Sayer, Thomas, Hutchinson (sub Stagg, 79). Subs (not used): Redgrave, Beadle, Johnson.