Brandon Hanlan stepped off the bench to score a late equaliser and help rescue a point for Colchester United against Chesterfield tonight.

Debutant Hanlan, on loan from Charlton, flicked home from close range with seven minutes remaining to score his first-ever EFL goal, after fellow substitute Drey Wright had headed on Ryan Jackson's long throw.

Colchester had trailed for much of the second half, after Louis Reed had given Chesterfield the lead just before half-time.

Colchester head coach John McGreal made two changes to his starting line-up for their game against Chesterfield.

Cameron James came into the team for his first league start since the opening day of the season in place of Frankie Kent, who was forced at half-time in the U’s 3-1 success over Crawley Town last weekend.

There was also a starting spot for Kane Vincent-Young who came in at left wing-back for Lewis Kinsella, who dropped to the bench.

He was joined among the substitutes by Cole Kpekawa and Diaz Wright.

The Chesterfield side featured a familiar face in Matt Briggs, who was released by Colchester at the end of last season.

Colchester were aiming for a 12th league victory at the Weston Homes Community Stadium in 2017 under McGreal, a record not bettered by any other team in English football’s top four tiers.

They faced a Chesterfield side who started the game second from bottom in the table and still smarting from their 5-1 thrashing at the hands of Crewe Alexandra, last weekend.

Yet it was the Spireites who started the brighter of the two sides and the visitors looked neat and tidy in possession, in the opening stages.

It was Colchester who registered the first meaningful effort on goal, though.

In-form Sammie Szmodics, looking to add to his four-goal tally for the season, volleyed just over from 20 yards after Ryan Inniss had made a nuisance of himself in the area.

And in the 19th minute, Chesterfield keeper Tommy Lee leapt to his right to push Nicke Kabamba’s header away for a corner after Mikael Mandron had headed Ryan Jackson’s deep cross back across the face of goal.

Colchester went close again on the half hour when Szmodics’ well-struck volley was pushed away spectacularly by Lee, as the hosts pressed for an opener.

And Szmodics tested Lee again soon after with another low shot that the Chesterfield keeper held.

But the visitors were in the contest and forced U’s keeper Sam Walker to make his first save of the match six minutes before half-time when he saved Jordan Flores’ effort, at his near post.

Ryan Jackson’s fierce long-range strike flashed inches over but Colchester suddenly found themselves behind, two minutes before the break.

There appeared to be little danger when Louis Reed collected possession 25 yards from goal but his thunderbolt flew past Walker and in, leaving the U’s keeper with no chance.

Indeed, Colchester were indebted to Walker for ensuring they only trailed by one goal at the break after he pulled off an excellent save to push away an effort by Diego De Girolamo, who had been sent through by Reed.

Colchester started the second half with plenty of intent and purpose and forced the Spireites back, in the minutes that immediately followed half-time.

Chesterfield found themselves pushed increasingly back towards their own goal and the U’s had a glorious chance to equalise seven minutes after the break when Mandron’s header found Kabamba unmarked ten yards out, only for the Portsmouth loanee to blast inexplicably wide with the goal at his mercy.

Colchester sent on Drey Wright for Cameron James in a bid to force an came agonisingly close to equalising with 15 minutes remaining through Vincent-Young, whose spectacular long-range strike rattled the crossbar.

And the U's felt they should have had a penalty after Tom Eastman's shot hit Briggs' hand in the area, with ten minutes to go.

But they finally equalised with seven minutes remaining through Hanlan, whose flicked header from Jackson's throw into the area flew past Lee.

Colchester came close to grabbing a winner with seven minutes remaining when Wright's fine low effort came back off a post but they had to make do with a draw which was the least they deserved.