Colchester United head coach John McGreal was pleased with the character his side showed after they battled back to salvage a point against Chesterfield tonight.

The U's looked like they might be heading for a rare league defeat at the Weston Homes Community Stadium when they trailed to Louis Reed's excellent strike, scored just before half-time.

But debutant Brandon Hanlon came off the bench to score his first-ever EFL goal with seven minutes remaining to get them back on level terms.

And Drey Wright struck a post with a fine low shot after that, as the U's pressed for a winner.

McGreal said: “I thought the boys showed great character in the second half to keep pushing on and get the equaliser.

“I never have doubts about this group because they try their hearts out even when they’re getting beaten and I think we’ve seen that again tonight."

Colchester had the better of the first half and Sammie Szmodics went close on several occasions, while Chesterfield keeper Tommy Lee denied Nicke Kabamba.

They also had their chances in the second half, with Kabamba missing a good chance and Kane Vincent-Young hitting the bar with a superb long-range effort.

“We were camped in their half in the second half and we should be winning the game, on the chances alone," added McGreal.

“Brandon will be delighted with his goal, because it’s a classic centre-forward finish.

“We should have scored in the first half but they scored a great goal on the counter attack and the lad’s put it in the top corner although it was a poor one for us to give away.

“I thought we dominated the second half and we had numerous opportunities.

“We hit the woodwork twice and had a penalty appeal turned down but the boys kept going and we got a deserved equaliser.”