Mikael Mandron scored his first Colchester United goal as they had to settle for a 1-1 draw with Stevenage, at the Weston Homes Community Stadium.

Mandron's emphatic finish midway through the second half earned the U's a point, after Danny Newton's strike just after half-time had put the visitors ahead.

John McGreal made one change to his starting line-up for his side’s first league home game of the season.

Tom Eastman returned in central defence after missing the Aston Villa cup-tie through injury, replacing Cameron James.

Kyel Reid made his league debut for Colchester after joining from Coventry City on a six-month loan while Doug Loft returned from a back injury and was among the substitutes.

The opening period was littered with stoppages and was a largely frustrating first half for both sides, lacking in quality.

Colchester squandered an early chance to take the lead when Mandron fired over from inside the area after playing a good one-two with Drey Wright.

Sammie Szmodics’ cross flashed dangerously across the six-yard box soon after but Stevenage had more territory after that and started to put the U’s goal under some pressure.

The visitors forced a succession of corners which came to nothing but came close on the half hour when Newton found space on the edge of the area before drilling a low shot towards goal that keeper Sam Walker was equal to.

Colchester’s best effort of the first half arrived just before the break when right wing-back Ryan Jackson found space in the area and drilled in a low effort that was palmed away by keeper Joe Fryer for a corner.

Stevenage introduced Alex Samuel for Chris Whelpdale at half-time and started the second half well.

Matt Godden's strike flashed inches wide of the far post after Dale Gorman had done well to set him up.

And four minutes after the break, Colchester were behind.

Experienced defender Ronnie Henry did superbly in the area to pick out Newton, who finished cleanly from close range.

But the U’s responded well to the setback and shortly after Sean Murray had curled over from long-range, the hosts were back on level terms in the 66th minute.

Drey Wright latched onto a pass from substitute Lewis Kinsella and after Fryer had inexplicably raced out of his goal, the forward’s cross picked out Mandron who finished emphatically into the roof of the net.

Stevenage defender Fraser Franks twice went close from close range for the visitors in quick succession after that and Walker made a good save to deny substitute Ben Kennedy, as Colchester had to make do with a point.