An entertaining game at The Coral Windows Stadium eventually saw City surrender their 100% home record. Nahki Wells fired the hosts ahead early on but two quick fire goals from Jeffrey Monakana and Jabo Ibehre sent United into the half time interval a goal ahead. Wells, however, had the final say with his 8th League goal of the season as he headed home the equaliser in the second half.
City began the game brightly, perhaps not quite as full on as they had started recent home games but almost forced Sam Walker into a save inside three minutes. Garry Thompson produced a teasing cross towards James Hanson that Magnus Okuonghae had to precariously steer behind for a corner.
United wasted a very good goal scoring opportunity at the other end on the 10th minute; Craig Eastmond’s incisive through ball saw Drey Wright go through on goal but after cutting inside onto his favoured right foot his eventual shot deflected narrowly wide.
The visitors looked the most likely to score in this spell and almost did once more when Luke Garbutt’s corner fell to Tom Eastman in the area; the big centre half however, could only volley the ball a couple of yards wide at the near post.
On the 14th minute though, City took the lead. Eastman’s attempted clearance fell straight to the in-form Wells who swivelled to fire the ball into the bottom corner from around 12 yards out. Jabo Ibehre almost equalised within 60 seconds of the restart but after the ball dropped to him in the area he lacked composure and blasted the ball comfortably over the bar.
Just before the half hour Colchester did get their equaliser; a long punt forward by ‘keeper Sam Walker was brought down by Eastmond who subsequently fed the ball to Preston loanee Jeffrey Monakana who produced a few step overs before rifling an angled shot into the top corner.
Four minutes later and Joe Dunne’s men had turned the game completely on its head. Craig Eastmond’s first time through ball forward saw Jabo Ibehre get the wrong side of Rory McArdle and he showed more composure this time to slot past McLaughlin in a one on one situation.
The visitors went into the break a goal to the good but it took only 7 minutes of the second half for City to equalise. James Meredith’s near post cross was glanced up into the air by Wells and the ball looped over Walker and into the far corner to level the game.
Five minutes later Garry Thompson went close but his powerful, low drive from 25 yards went narrowly wide of the target as the hosts looked to push on and get themselves back in front once more.
Nathan Doyle went close with a shot and James Hanson with a header as Phil Parkinson’s men looked to capitalise on a spell of pressure but Colchester substitute Gavin Massey came the closest to scoring the next goal when his curling shot from outside the area beat the dive of McLaughlin but came back off the post.
Two of City’s second half substitutes linked up shortly after when Raffaele De Vita glanced Mark Yeates’ free kick delivery narrowly wide of the target. The latter was also denied in the last minute of the 90 when after latching onto Hanson’s knock down his goal bound stab was acrobatically clawed over the bar by Walker.
The game ended dramatically when substitute Daniel Pappoe was given a straight red card for a mistimed challenge on Mark Yeates that left the Irishman in a heap on the ground.