COLCHESTER United held League Two leaders Mansfield Town to a 1-1 draw following a battling display in front of the live Sky Sports cameras this afternoon.

Lewis Brunt's equaliser denied the U's victory at the One Call Stadium, after Harry Anderson's excellent strike had been cancelled out by Lewis Brunt for the hosts, in the second half.

It was a hard-working, professional performance by Colchester, who frustrated their promotion-chasing hosts.

Indeed, the U's could have won the game, with substitute Samson Tovide seeing his strike late in the game strike a post.

However, Colchester goalkeeper Owen Goodman also made two outstanding saves, to help his side.

Colchester boss Danny Cowley made two changes to his starting line-up, with Tom Hopper and Alistair Smith recalled in place of John Akinde and Noah Chilvers, who dropped to the bench.

The U’s made a solid start in the swirling wind, although Hiram Boateng did fire over for Mansfield in the opening minutes after a swift counter attack by the hosts.

Colchester took a surprise lead in the 12th minute when Harry Anderson drilled a fine low shot into the far corner of the net, after Hopper had prodded the ball into his path inside the area.


It left the home crowd stunned and Mansfield tried to find an immediate response, with the wind in their favour.

They almost levelled in the 28th minute when Davis Keillor-Dunn's downward header dropped wide of the post but Colchester did a good job of frustrating their hosts, as the half wore on.

Colchester goalkeeper Owen Goodman made a fine save to deny Will Swan from point blank range in the area after Mansfield had got in behind the U’s defence.

The U’s went in at the break ahead and sent on Samson Tovide for Ihionvien just before the hour mark, as they attempted to extend their advantage.

Goodman made an outstanding stop just after the hour when he somehow pushed away Baily Cargill's header away for a corner.

But Colchester failed to clear the resultant set piece and Lewis Brunt eventually tapped home the loose ball, to level things up in the 63rd minute, for Mansfield.

Goodman did well to push over Will Swan's header from Quinn's free-kick in the 76th minute, as Mansfield pushed for a winner.

But Colchester came agonisingly close to restoring their lead with eight minutes remaining when Mansfield keeper Christy Pym touched Tovide's shot onto a post, after Smith's pass had set the substitute free.

Colchester went close again in the 87th minute when substitute Ellis Iandolo's header was pushed over the bar by Pym from Read's corner.

And although Mansfield had a penalty shout when Swan fell in the area in stoppage-time and six minutes were added on at the end, the U's held out for a well-earned point.

MATCH FACTS: COLCHESTER UNITED: Goodman, Hall, Dallison, Mingi, Fevrier (sub Chilvers, 90), Anderson, Read, Smith, McGeehan, Ihionvien (sub Tovide, 57), Hopper (sub Iandolo, 78).

Subs (not used): Harbottle, Jay, Akinde, Hornby.

Mansfield Town: Pym, Cargill (sub McLaughlin, 71), Flint, Brunt, Reed, Quinn, Boateng (sub Clarke, 71), Keillor-Dunn, Bowery, Akins, Swan (sub Nichols, 90).

Subs (not used): Hewitt, Gale, Lewis, Flinders.

Goals: Colchester: Anderson (12). Mansfield: Brunt (63).

Bookings: Colchester: Ihionvien (unsporting behaviour, 16), Hall (unsporting behaviour, 45), Tovide (foul, 74), Hopper (foul, 75). Mansfield: Keillor-Dunn (foul, 49).

Red card: None.

Referee: Simon Mather.

Attendance: 7, 517.