It was a little ironic given the youthful average age of Colchester United’s starting line-up that in an act of petulance from the most experienced player in their side should ultimately cost them so dearly against Cheltenham Town.

At the age of 30 and with more than 350 career appearances under his belt, Kyel Reid knows more than anyone in the U’s squad the importance of keeping your discipline at all times as a professional, so his immature gesture in striking out at opponent Joe Morrell not once but twice was as surprising as it was damaging.

Reid will not need to be told how his red card just before half-time contributed significantly to Colchester’s 4-1 defeat; they were winning 1-0 at the time of his sending off and while their capitulation in the second half was worrying, his dismissal seemed to leave them shell-shocked and allowed a fluid Cheltenham side to attack them at will.

Reid now faces a three-match suspension following his red card and with his loan spell from their League Two rivals Coventry City having now expired, could he have conceivably played his last game in a U’s shirt?

It would be a pity if he has.

The former West Ham United youngster has made a positive impression since arriving from the Sky Blues in August; his attacking play on the left wing has added something to the Colchester side and his experience on and off the pitch has been important, within a youthful squad.

“He’s a top guy and all he’s done since he’s come here is help, especially the younger ones,” said striker Kurtis Guthrie after the Cheltenham defeat.

With 19 appearances under his belt for the U’s this season, Reid has been a regular in their starting line-up.

Both parties have intimidated over recent weeks that they would like the alliance to continue for the rest of the season.

The attacker appears to have little future at Coventry and is out of contract at the Ricoh Arena at the end of the campaign.

He has already intimated he would like to remain at Colchester, so an extended stay in Essex is the most likely scenario.

If that happens, Reid should not be castigated too much for his misdemeanour against Cheltenham, as harmful as it was.