An early kick-off on a Saturday for Colchester was a novelty.

But the fact it was against League Two leaders Mansfield and live on Sky Sports did mean that there was an air of worry amongst the U’s fans making the trip that maybe this would be a game where damage limitation was the order of the day rather that any realistic hope of getting anything from the game.

Of course, all pre-match interviews and comments were as positive as can be and the right noises made, but even the most optimistic of fans would have been hard pressed to predict what was to play out in front of the cameras.

We started off very strongly and came with a game plan that was to disrupt the hosts from playing their game and look for opportunities to exploit.

The U’s took a well-deserved 13th-minute lead with Harry Anderson finishing from a tight angle after a nice little flick on from Tom Hopper.

Predictably Mansfield used this as a wake-up and started to find their way into the game.

Owen Goodman produced some world-class saves to preserve our lead, and rightly was voted man of the match.

But sadly the leaders found a way though just after the hour mark as a goalmouth scramble after we failed to clear the ball finally brought the scores level.

With a third of the game left this was where the new-look U’s faced their biggest test.

Would they survive the inevitble assault on their goal or would we revert to type and let all the hard work go to waste?

In fact, it went much better than we could have hoped.

Not only did we carry on with our game plan, but we also caused Mansfield their share of scares with our attacking threat and just could not find that all important second goal, while at the same time we defended with everything we had.

It was great to see Tom Dallison and Connor Hall celebrating tackles and block with the passion and determination of players who are back at their best.

In the end both teams had to settle for a point and in all honestly was a fair result.

We could have nicked all three points, but considering the fact it was a game on TV played between teams at opposite ends of the table, the U’s faithful were more than happy with a point from a game where we expected nothing.

The game showed how the Cowleys are having a positive impact on not only how we are playing, but also how in-game management has improved.

We have been guilty of being too nice to play against and Saturday showed that this is also changing, and we are starting to stand up to teams and not just rolling over.

So, a lot of positives, but these need to be backed up and really built upon with a win at home on Good Friday.

The fate of our season is still in our hands with how other results went this past weekend and the fact we have games in hand.

But this is easy to say and now words need to be backed by actions. Let's get Easter weekend off to a great start by beating Newport.

Up the U’s!