Colchester United fought back from from behind on Saturday, with summer signing Mikael Mandron marking his home league debut with a goal to earn the U’s a point against the Boro.
Danny Newton opened the scoring early in the second half with a well taken finish, but former Wigan striker Mandron found the net soon after to give the John McGreal’s men their first point of the campaign.
The opening moments of the game were relatively cagey with Colchester United having the only real clear-cut chance.
Mandron had almost given the U’s the perfect start after being found by Drey Wright, but his effort from 12 yards went well over the bar.
Stevenage had their first sniff of Sam Walker’s goal afterwards when a cross wasn’t dealt with particularly well, but Tom Lapslie was on hand to clear any danger.
With half an hour on the clock, the U’s began to find their rhythm; Walker’s long throw set Kyel Reid free down the left-hand side and the on loan Coventry man played a neat exchange with Wright 20 yards from goal, but was brought down right as he was about to shoot.
A few moments later, Ryan Jackson’s powerful shot was beaten away by Joe Fryer in the Stevenage goal after some excellent hold up play by Mandron. Young Player of the Year Frankie Kent got his head to the resulting corner but his effort went well wide as the ref blew for half time.
Cole Kpekawa was forced off for the U’s early into the second half with what appeared to be concussion and was replaced by the lively Lewis Kinsella.
The Boro broke the deadlock against the run of play 5 minutes into the second half. Jackson found himself out of position and Dale Gorman’s low cross set up Newton who sent Walker the wrong way from close range.
The tempo of the game then slowed, as Stevenage looked to put all 11 men behind the ball in an attempt to preserve their lead.
Sean Murray picked out Jackson with a clever ball and he then slipped Wright through. His toe poke across goal beat the onrushing Fryer but there was nobody in the six-yard box to finish into the empty net.
With the game entering the final half an hour it was all Colchester United; Murray let fly from 30 yards and beat both the keeper and the post whilst Mandron headed wide from a Reid cross.
The U’s efforts were finally rewarded with 25 minutes to go when Kinsella intercepted a poor pass and set Wright on his way. Fryer again rushed out of his goal but was left helpless as Wright poked it round him and squared the ball the Mandron who finished fiercely into the top corner.
Stevenage had a great chance to restore their lead immediately through Fraser Franks, but his volley from six yards went well over Walker’s crossbar.
Both teams started to tire as the game entered its final moments, giving each side the chance to snatch a late goal and take all three points.
Lapslie’s deflected shot fell nicely for Sammie Szmodics but he couldn’t direct his shot goalwards whilst Newton again forced a smart save from Walker.
The final chance of the game saw Wright who get his head on the end of substitute Doug Loft’s cross, but his effort glanced wide of the post.
McGreal and his squad will take lots of positives from the game and will be itching to get their first three points of the campaign away at Luton Town next Saturday.