Cambridge United had three points snatched from their grasp by Colchester United in a competitive Sky Bet League Two clash which ended 1-1 at the Cambs Glass Stadium.

Gerry McDonagh registered his first Football league goal to give the hosts a deserved lead, before Sammie Szmodics equalised with seven minutes to play.

Shaun Derry made three changes to the starting line-up, with Harrsion Dunk, Scott Wharton and Gerry McDonagh returning for the U’s.

Luke Berry came close to giving United an early lead when Piero Mingoia flashed a cross through the six yard box, with Colchester centre back George Elokobi making a crucial interception before Berry could head home.

However, Cambridge United continued to cause the visitor’s problems and did break the deadlock midway through the half. McDonagh showed great composure to bring down George Maris’ cross before lashing the ball in at the near post.

Harrison Dunk looked to have doubled that advantage on 33 minutes when he got in behind his marker to flick the ball past Sam Walker, but the offside flag was raised promptly on the far side to chalk off the effort, keeping the difference to one goal at the break.

Despite Colchester taking charge of possession in the opening stages of the second period, both Scott Wharton and Berry came close to scoring United’s second before the hour mark.

John McGreal’s side increased the pressure on United as the half progressed, Will Norris forced into an excellent point blank save on 74 minutes to ensure the lead stayed intact.

McDonagh was then presented an opportunity by Elokobi to put the game to bed but Walker made a stop with his feet to deny the striker a second. That came minutes before Wharton glanced a header fractions over the Colchester cross bar which would have put the result beyond doubt.

However, the Essex outfit eventually equalised with substitute Sammie Szmodics hurling himself onto the end of Brennan Dickenson’s fizzing cross to score at the far post.

Cambridge United: Norris, Taylor (Davies, 74 min), Legge, Roberts, Carroll, Mingoia, O’Neil, Berry, Dunk (Dunne, 60 mins), Maris (Elito, 83 mins), McDonagh

Colchester United: Walker, Briggs, Lapslie, Wright, Porter (Bonne, 79 mins), Dickenson, Elokobi, Garvan, Murray (Szmodics, 74 mins), Fosu-Henry (Pyke, 62 mins), James 

Attendance: 5,708 (1,415)

Vindis Man of the Match: Piero Mingoia