Colchester United have been beaten 1-0 at Accrington Stanley in the Emirates FA Cup.
Despite having the better chances of the first half, the U's were behind at the break thanks to Dan Barlaser's deflected shot.
And in the second period, the visitors found it hard to break through a resolute Accrington defence and went out of the competition at the first hurdle.
It was always going to be a tough game for the U’s in the North West, and their preparations were dealt a blow in the very first minute.
A ball was pumped into the U’s half, and Tom Eastman clashed heads with Luke Charman as they challenged in the air.
The Stanley forward recovered almost immediately, but Eastman wasn’t so lucky and had to be replaced by Luke Prosser.
Prosser was relatively untroubled as he settled into the game, and it was the U’s who had the best chances in the first quarter.
Sammie Szmodics had a shot saved after good work from Courtney Senior and Frank Nouble, then Nouble had a clear run at goal.
He hit his shot low and true, but Connor Ripley in the home goal just got a touch to it, and it flew just over the bar.
Halfway through the first period, Accrington had a great chance to open the scoring, but Billy Kee headed over when well placed centre of goal.
There was a further injury blow for the U’s on the half hour mark, as Rene Gilmartin had to be replaced by Dillon Barnes in the U’s goal, having pulled up with what looked like a hamstring injury.
Charman twice failed to hit the target with shots, but midfielder Dan Barlaser showed him the way on thirty four minutes, albeit with the help of a wicked deflection that took it over Barnes.
The goal gave the hosts a shot in the arm, and they put pressure on the U’s defence for the remainder of the half.
The U’s stood strong though, and went into half time just the one goal behind.
Barnes had to make a smart stop on fifty one minutes to keep the deficit at one goal, pushing away a Clarke shot from the right.
The U’s were asking questions of the homme defence in looking for an equaliser, but failed to test Ripley in the home goal enough.
A Nouble header drifted past the post, Pell and Dickenson drove shots wide, and Nouble’s second header was comfortably taken by Ripley.
Mikael Mandron was the last throw of the dice for the U’s, but he was a spectator for the next chance of the game, as Barnes made a fantastic save to prevent Ben Richards- Everton doubling the lead on eighty three minutes.
Szmodics hit a shot goalwards in injury time, but a deflection took it wide of the home goal, and despite Barnes adding an extra body in the box for the corner, the U’s couldn’t force an equaliser.
It meant a First Round exit for the U’s, but another cup match awaits with the visit to Cambridge to look forward to on Tuesday night.