The U's bowed out of the Essex Senior Cup at the quarter final stage on Tuesday night, in a seven goal thriller against AFC Hornchurch.
The home side led 1-0, 2-1 and 4-2 during the game and, although the U's fought back to level twice, they weren't able to do it for a third time as the U's went out in a game full of incident.
Two first half strikes from Martin Tuohy either side of a goal from Alex Gilbey saw the non-league side take a 2-1 lead into the break.
Freddie Ladapo levelled the tie with 15 minutes left to play, before a well taken goal from Andy Tomlinson and a third from the excellent
Tuohy saw Hornchurch race into a 4-2 lead.
The U's pulled one back late on through an own goal from Reiss Noel but it proved to be too little too late against a well organised AFC
Despite the result, this will no doubt have been a useful workout against a physical side for the young U's as many of them look to
force their way into Joe Dunne's first team plans over the coming weeks.
The U's could have broken the deadlock as early as the second minute when George Porter scampered down the right before picking out Andy Bond in the box whose goal bound effort was blocked by Urchins defender Elliot Styles.
Styles was then involved at the other end as he stung the palms of U's 'keeper Carl Pentney with a powerful effort from 20 yards.
Freddie Ladapo had a great chance to open the scoring on the 10 minute mark when he was picked out by a dinked cross from Bond, but the young striker could only head tamely at Hornchurch 'keeper Joe Woolley from close range.
The home side took the lead on the quarter hour mark when Lewis Smith found space down the right hand side before laying the ball across the box to Tuohy who made no mistake as he side-footed home.
Colchester were level three minutes later though through Gilbey, as he finished well from close range after Ben Coker’s left wing cross was nodded back across goal by Tosin Olufemi.
There was an enforced change for the U’s following the goal as loanee Jack Compton was forced to withdraw through injury and was replaced by Jack Simmons.
Hornchurch restored their lead five minutes before the break. Smith was tripped in the box by Matt Heath with referee Barry Holderness
having no option but to point to the spot.
Tuohy stepped up to take the kick and although Pentney did well to save the original effort, the striker followed up to tuck home the rebound.
The U’s began the second half on the front foot and only a great challenge from Noel stopped Ladapo running clear just 90 seconds after the restart.
Heath then came within inches of levelling the tie on 53 minutes when he volleyed just over the bar following a cross from Bond.
Tuohy was still causing problems for the U’s at the other end though, and Pentney saved bravely at the frontman’s feet as he ran clear
following good work from strike partner Smith.
The visitors levelled the match on 75 minutes when Porter embarked on a jinking run before picking out Ladapo on the edge of the box, with the youngster taking a touch before finishing smartly into the far corner.
The game was level for just one minute though, with Smith finding Tomlinson on the edge of the U’s penalty area who drilled the ball
across the box and into the far corner.
Three minutes later and it was 4-2. Tuohy picked up the ball on the edge of the box where he was able to skip past two defenders before slotting the ball underneath Pentney, much to the delight of the vociferous home fans.
Colchester raised the tempo in the remaining ten minutes as they looked to rescue the game, and Woolley did well to tip over a header
from substitute Tom Lapslie.
They did manage to reduce the arrears with five minutes left to play when Simmons’s cross was turned past his own ‘keeper by Noel, but it wasn’t enough for the U’s who despite finishing the stronger of the two sides, were unable to find a way past a well organised Hornchurch rearguard.
U’s: Pentney, Olufemi, Roast, Sanderson (Bonne 77), Coker, Heath (c),
Compton (Simmons 21), Gilbey (Lapslie 62), Porter, Bond, Ladapo.
not used: O’Donoghue, Kent.