Colchester boss Steve Ball had high praise for winger Callum Harriott after his ‘stunning’ goal earned them a 1-1 draw with Crawley.
Harriott’s magnificent long-range strike from 30 yards following Miles Welch-Hayes’ lay-off gave the Us a 13th-minute lead.
But Crawley came away with a deserved point after Jordan Tunnicliffe converted a 20th-minute equaliser from close range following Tom Dallison’s downward header.
Ball said: “We were a little bit edgy in the first half but it was a fantastic goal by Callum.
“As he comes in off the right side, he’s got it in him to produce goals like that and it was a stunning goal.
“It was probably the best I’ve seen in my time at the club – I thought it was an absolutely brilliant goal.
“I think 1-1 was about right. I thought Crawley played really well in the first half and they came at us.
“After what happened at Exeter (losing 6-1), there was always going to be a human reaction to a disappointing night like that and I’ve given them loads of advice this week on moving on.
“I thought we got into those areas well at times but just lacked that last bit of quality to make something happen, but we were much better in the second half.”
It was a tale of two goalkeepers at the JobServe Community Stadium, with Colchester’s Dean Gerken and his opposite number Glenn Morris in impressive form.
Morris denied Harriott and Kwame Poku while Gerken made a string of fine stops, most notably to deny both Sam Matthews and Tyler Frost in stoppage time, as the points were shared.
Crawley looked the more likely side to win it late on but had to be content with a draw.
Crawley boss John Yems said: “I’m disappointed not to come away with the three points but by the same token, I think the lads put a good shift in.
“We missed a few chances but once again, the spirit was there and we stuck with it.
“If you look at it logically, had it been a league game last Saturday it would be four points.
“Their goal could have been stopped – the actual shot was a great finish but he shouldn’t have got into that position to do it.
“The lads know they should have put a tackle in and you have to stop these things from happening but that’s me being super critical. It was preventable from our point of view but what a finish by the lad (Harriott).
“We created a lot of chances but fair play to them as well – it’s always a tough game here and they’re a good little side.”