Colchester United skipper Dean Hammond became a father for the first time – and then helped his side continue their development under boss Paul Lambert.

The U’s midfielder headed west to join up with his team-mates on the morning of their Coca-Cola League One match at Bristol Rovers, just hours after his partner Rachel gave birth to his baby daughter, Esme-Mae.

The off-the-field events meant that Hammond was unable to play much part in Colchester’s pre-match preparations.

But the former Brighton and Hove Albion man made up for that in helping Colchester clinch a hard-earned point at the Memorial Stadium following a dour goal-less stalemate, extending their unbeaten league run to seven matches.

Hammond insisted it was all worth it and that the adrenalin of becoming a dad pulled him through – despite a distinct lack of sleep.

He told the Gazette: “It was the best moment of my life.

“When I played, I was still high from having my first daughter.

“The gaffer rang me up on Friday and asked me if I’d like to play and I said yes.

“I’m still buzzing from all of the adrenalin of it all.”

Hammond admitted Colchester’s goal-less draw with the Pirates was not one for the purists.

However, the 25-year-old feels the U’s could look back on the final outcome favourably, come the end of the season.

“I enjoyed the game and we got a good point,” he said.

“It wasn’t the prettiest game in the world but at the end of the season, if we keep winning at home and picking the points up away, then we’ll be good.

“We’re creating chances and we’re looking solid at the back.”