Colchester United crashed to a disastrous defeat on the opening day of the new Coca-Cola League One season.

The U's were thrashed 4-2 by Hartlepool United at Victoria Park.

Two goals in the space of a minute early in the match gave the Pools the upper hand.

First James Brown composed himself in the penalty area before slamming a shot past U's goalkeeper Dean Gerken, after Andy Monkhouse had headed on Sam Collins' 13th-minute free-kick.

And less than 60 seconds had elapsed by the time Brown had run on to a quick free-kick past a static Colchester defence and converted past the exposed Gerken.

The U's, who handed first starts to summer signings Matt Lockwood, Paul Reid and Steven Gillespie, made a bright start after the break.

But any hopes they had of getting back into the game were effectively ended midway through the second half.

Antony Sweeney's quick throw-in allowed Gary Liddle to play in midfielder Willie Boland, whose screaming effort from 25 yards flew past the helpless Gerken.

Former U's loanee Ritchie Jones made it 4-0 with a fierce left-foot drive from inside the area, with 14 minutes to go.

Gillespie slotted home a penalty on his debut less than a minute later after Boland had been adjudged to have handled Lockwood's cross in the area.

And the U's record signing headed in Mark Yeates' free-kick in the fourth minute of stoppage-time for his second of the game.

However, that could not mask Colchester's disappointing opening day display.