SO Matty Etherington’s tenure as Colchester United’s permanent head coach started with a defeat.

But there was enough in the U’s performance in their 2-0 loss at Stockport County for supporters to be encouraged.

In the end, conceding goals either side of half-time proved Colchester’s downfall at Edgeley Park, along with their inability to take their chances when they came along.

READ MORE: Matty Etherington's verdict on U's defeat at Stockport County

But against a team sitting pretty at the top of League Two, whose win over the U’s was their 12th in a row in the league, the visitors proved stubborn opponents.

Not that Colchester had gone into the game short of confidence themselves; they had just claimed ten points from a possible 12 during Etherington’s interim period in charge, one that ultimately secured him the top job on a full-time basis.

That showed in large periods at Stockport; there seems a better cohesion and organisation about the U’s of late, along with desire and endeavour.

Gazette: Noah Chilvers

They showed courage in possession and were not afraid to attack their hosts and often made inroads on the Stockport defence, while being able to make the vital breakthrough.

Despite defensive disruption following Connor Hall’s injury, along with one or two scares when playing out from the back, Colchester have generally looked solid in and out of possession, their midfielders are looking effective and in attack, they look capable of hurting any teams in the division.

Colchester inevitably felt the absence of Joe Taylor at Stockport but Samson Tovide was desperately unlucky not to put them ahead in the first half with an audacious backheeled effort that bounced back off the crossbar while in the second half, both Tovide and substitute Bradley Ihionvien each had further opportunities to find the net.

READ MORE: Colchester United player ratings after Stockport County defeat

“I’ve got to be honest, I’m liking a lot of what I’m seeing,” said Etherington after the Stockport defeat.

“Yes we can brush up in certain areas and we will do but there’s a lot of good stuff going on.”

It’s likely to take time for Etherington to truly make his mark as a head coach, at Colchester.

But games are coming thick and fast for the U’s at the moment and there will be little space in the schedule for the former West Ham United winger to get the entirety of his ideas across, on the Florence Park training pitch.

Gazette: Matty Etherington

But the good news is that Colchester’s players appear to be responding to Etherington’s techniques, so far and the foundations are there to achieve good results, especially when some of the injured players are available again.

Next up for Etherington and his U’s side is a home game against his former club, Peterborough United, in the EFL Trophy.

It will be a chance for the Colchester boss to give one or two squad players game time but Etherington has made it clear that he wants to win the game, particularly as it will mean progression to the knockout stages along with a tidy cash reward.

A game against in-form Barrow follows next Saturday and Etherington will be looking to build on the foundations that are being laid.