A NUMBER of Colchester United's promising youngsters returned to match action as they took on Maldon and Tiptree in a pre-season friendly this afternoon, writes BRIAN WALLER.

The likes of Andre Hasanally, Marley Marshall-Miranda and Sam Cornish were all in action at Florence Park, in the U's 2-1 defeat against Wayne Brown's side.

Harry Beagle, Ted Collins and Jake Hutchinson were also among those players to feature for a squad that featured a mixture of a few under-23, under-18 and several trialists.

Both sides adopted different squads in each half and Maldon, managed by former U’s boss Wayne Brown, had the best of the first period.

U's keeper Collins made a good block and then saved with his feet before soon after pushing a shot away, as the visitors created opportunities.

It came as no surprise therefore when the Jammers took the lead, after 21 minutes.

A player cutting in from the right and scored with a spectacular effort which flew in off the underside of the bar, giving keeper Collins no chance.

Maldon almost doubled their lead when an effort deflected off Marshall-Miranda, forcing Collins to fall down to his left to push the ball around the post for a corner.

Colchester went in trailing at the break but a change of the team seemed to improve their fortunes as it was a much improved second half for them.

They almost equalised five minutes from the restart when Cornish's low 25-yard effort was pushed around the post by the diving Maldon keeper.

And Colchester did level from the resultant corner when they ball was half volleyed into the net by one of their trialists, beating the keeper down to his right.

The U's were in the ascendancy after that but Maldon almost regained their lead when a ball into space lured keeper Jaime Tedaldi to chase out.

Tedaldi was beaten to the ball by the away player who sent the shot towards the goal, but somehow a U's defender got back to miraculously clear the ball off the line.

The match seemed to be heading for a draw but the visitors grabbed a winner with four minutes remaining when a header was lifted over Tedaldi's head and in.

The final effort of the game came from the Jammers when a good header from a cross from the right was superbly saved by Tedaldi, as the visitors claimed victory.