Sembie-Ferris and James on target.
Colchester United U23s preserved their unbeaten record in the Premier League Cup, as they fought back from 2-0 down to get a point against Derby County.
The draw ensures the U's remain in second place in the Group C table having played two games so far.
It was a game with a positive tempo throughout the ninety minutes and a competitive edge not always seen in U23s fixtures.
The Rams, who lost their previous game to Hull City, took the lead after just three minutes, as Charles Vernam converted from close range when a corner was not fully cleared.
The U's went on to have much the better of the first half possession, as they hunted down the ball in midfield and sprung forward on their Championship opposition.
However, the Rams were presented with a chance to extend their lead on 25 minutes as Kellan Gordon was felled in the box by Cameron James.
But Dillon Barnes, who had saved two spot kicks in the Checkatrade Trophy shootout win over Southampton, repeated his heroics as he turned away Callum Guy's effort from twelve yards.
The U's did fall further behind on 36 minutes, though, as the Rams got their second from another corner. Barnes spilled the ball as he went to collect the set piece and Vernam was on hand to stab home.
The two goal advantage was to last just three minutes.
The home side worked the ball around the Derby area and when a first effort was saved, Dion Sembie-Ferris was on hand to tuck home.
One behind at the break, the U's drew themselves level ten minutes into the second half.
Charley Edge swung over a dangerous free kick and James was on the front foot to slide home from close range past the helpless Weale.
The U's began to assert their authority and Louis Dunne had two efforts on goal either side of the hour mark, the second of which flew just over Weale's crossbar.
They then had to withstand some Derby pressure, seeing away a series of corners to preserve the 2-2 scoreline.
With ten minutes to go, Vernam sliced an effort just wide of the far post before Sembie-Ferris - who impressed in the second half - forced another good stop out of Weale.
And the U's could have won it at the death. Sembie-Ferris again tested Weale and it fell to substitute Sheriff, who volleyed just over the bar.
It was to finish all square and the U's will be pleased with how they fought back to get something out of the game.