Colchester United were forced to settle for a point in the first home game of the season, as Carlisle United frustrated Wayne Brown's side in a 1-1 draw.
Colchester struck early through Noah Chilvers; the midfielder’s low strike settled in the back of the net after just nineteen minutes had been played.
Carlisle responded just before half-time, Kristian Dennis’ headed effort drew the visitors level after a period of pressure from the visitors.
Both sides looked like they could win the game in the second half, with Chilvers going close again for the U’s and Dennis looking dangerous for Carlisle. But it was honours even at full-time with both sides leaving the Jobserve Community Stadium with a share of the spoils.
The two teams started the game brightly, Carlisle were looking to implement their attacking play down the right-flank, but it was the U’s who has the first big opportunity of the game. New signing Alex Newby threaded a ball through to Freddie Sears but his curling effort cannoned off the post and The Blues were able to clear.
The visitors came close to opening the scoring not long after, when a crossed ball into the box found the head of Jack Armer, but the left-back mistimed his header and it bounced harmlessly over the bar.
A few moments later, a loose ball from Ryan Clampin presented Kristan Dennis with a one-on-one, but Sam Hornby managed to make himself as wide as possible to deny Carlisle the opening goal.
No less than three minutes on and the U’s had taken the lead. Ben Barclay failed to control the ball on the edge of the box, allowing Luke Hannant to latch onto the loose ball before laying off to Noah Chilvers, who struck his right-footed effort into the bottom-left corner.
Hannant was in the middle of the action again at the midway stage of the first half, the midfielder plucked a high ball from the sky before turning and releasing Sears, but the forward could only win a corner for his side.
Much of the first half saw the two teams exchange possession as Carlisle looked for an equaliser and the U’s looked to further their advantage. The visitors enjoyed more of the ball, but the home side looked dangerous on the counter-attack.
After a spell on top, the visitors found their equaliser, just one minute before half time, a recycled ball from a Carlisle corner was flicked on and in by Dennis, to tie the game up before the break.
Both teams emerged for the second half having made no changes. The visitors made a bright start, with a teasing ball in towards Dennis ending up just wide of Hornby’s post.
The U’s responded with some excellent linkup play between Newby and Chilvers. The latter played a mesmerising one-two with Newby, before taking on an early shot, although it was not enough to beat Holy.
Several changes were made with half an hour to go, with the U’s opting for a triple substitution to introduce some fresh legs in Ashley, Nouble and Miranda, with Carlisle also making an attacking change up front, introducing Omari Patrick.
Cameron Coxe also came on for the U’s, after Clampin had picked up a knock that he was unable to continue with.
The game remained very open, with both sides fashioning half chances that they were not able to convert as we entered the final stretch of the game.
Junior Tchamadeu looked to be a man on a mission in the second half, with the flying full-back venturing on several mazy runs, often beating his man and drawing a foul, with one run resulting in Fin Back picking up a yellow card for a late challenge.
Carlisle had a chance late on, when a floated ball found Jack Armer, who’s low header was parried behind by Hornby.
Ashley struck from distance in injury time, but his effort sailed over the bar in what was to be the final chance of the game.
The U’s picked up their first point of the new season against Carlisle, but attention will swiftly move to the trip to Ipswich on Tuesday, as Colchester take on local rivals in the first round of the Carabao Cup.
Colchester XI: Hornby, Clampin (Coxe), Chambers, Hannant (Nouble), Skuse (Akinde), Judge (Miranda), Sears, Chilvers, Eastman, Newby (Ashley), Tchamadeu
Subs: Collins, Dallison, Ashley, Akinde, Coxe, Miranda, Nouble
Carlisle XI: Holy, Armer, Mozon (Harris), Feeney, Gibson, Guy, Edmondson (Patrick), Dennis (Stretton), Mellish, Back, Barclay
Subs: Patrick, Hilton, Whelan, Devitt, Harris, Kelly, Stretton