Colchester United are still searching for their first win of the League One season after losing 2-1 at Notts County tonight.

But Joe Dunne's side deserved so much more from an entertaining contest, after creating the bulk of the chances at Meadow Lane.

Colchester fell behind in the fifth minute when Ronan Murray accurately steered a close-range shot past Sam Walker, after Nicky Wroe had planted a ball into the area.

But the U's were almost back on level terms, five minutes later.

After some good build-up play, Jabo Ibehre’s well-placed header from Ben Gordon’s curling cross was creeping in at the near post before Magpies’ experienced goalkeeper Roy Carroll dived to his left to palm it away for a corner.

And the former Manchester United shot-stopper was forced to make an equally important save six minutes later, once again denying Ibehre after the U’s striker was left bearing down on goal following Haydn Hollis’s untimely error.

Magnus Okuonghae’s header sailed straight at Carroll and Dominic Vose’s first-time volley sailed inches over the bar from nearly 25 yards, as the U’s enjoyed a sustained period of dominance at the midway point of the first half.

Marcus Bean sent a free header wide from George Moncur’s corner when unmarked in the area and another Vose volley was gobbled up by Carroll, before the former Manchester United goalkeeper once again denied Ibehre, who had been picked out in space in the area by Vose.

Tom Eastman nodded just wide at the far post but the U’s somehow went in at the break behind.

Colchester continued to carve out chances in the second half and Carroll pulled off another save to deny them, with Freddie Sears’ effort hitting the Northern Ireland international at point-blank range after the U’s forward had been fed by Vose.

The U's finally got the goal they deserved with 20 minutes to go when Sears powered his way into the area and finished low past the on-rushing Carroll.

But the U’s were only back on level terms for less than two minutes, after Liam Noble unleashed an unstoppable shot that flew past Walker and into the net from long range.

Colchester were given hope with 13 minutes remaining when Notts County left-back Keane was shown a second yellow card and was given his marching orders.

But Walker made a fine stop to deny Wroe, who was shown two yellow cards in the space of seven minutes and subsequently sent off, to leave the home side down to nine men.

Sears’ shot flashed agonisingly wide but despite six minutes of stoppage-time, Colchester fell to a second successive league defeat.

For a full match report, pictures and reaction the U's game at Notts County, see Wednesday's Daily Gazette.