Mikael Mandron scored a late winner as Colchester United beat Coventry City 2-1 to boost their League Two play-off hopes.

Mandron glanced home Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe's cross with two minutes remaining to secure an important win for the U's, drawing them level with their opponents in the table.

Colchester head coach John McGreal made two changes to his starting line-up for the visit of Coventry.

Striker Ogedi-Uzokwe was handed his first-ever professional start in attack while Kane Vincent-Young returned at right wing-back, after missing the Carlisle United draw because of a hamstring injury.

Kurtis Guthrie and Ryan Jackson both missed out but there was a very welcome return for winger Brennan Dickenson, who was named in the Colchester 18 for the first time since suffering a serious knee injury last April.

It was a strong bench for the U’s, with leading scorer Sammie Szmodics and midfielder Tom Lapslie, who had captained the side for most of the season, also among the substitutes.

Colchester looked the more assured of the two sides in the opening stages and enjoyed the bulk of the possession, despite Chris Stokes firing a shot into the side netting for the visitors after Liam Kelly’s effort had been blocked following a swift break.

The U’s were much the better side in the first half though and almost went ahead in the 16th minute when Brandon Comley’s low 25-yard strike was pushed away by keeper Lee Burge for a corner.

Former Coventry midfielder Ben Stevenson advanced towards the edge of the area before firing a shot well over the bar in the 25th minute, before Colchester took the lead two minutes later.

Ogedi-Uzokwe stroked home from the spot for his first-ever professional goal, after he had been pulled back by Rod McDonald in the area following Courtney Senior’s cross into the box.

It was almost 2-0 just before half-time when Senior drove at the Coventry defence before firing in a left-foot strike that forced Burge to push away for a corner, as the U’s went in at the break ahead.

But Colchester were pegged back ten minutes after half-time when the visitors got back on level terms.

Tom Bayliss slammed home from 20 yards, after Colchester keeper Sam Walker had initially parried away Jordan Shipley’s effort.

It was a blow for the U’s especially given all of their first-half dominance and the U’s almost fell behind nine minutes later when Marc McNulty’s effort clattered the outside of the near post, as the visitors grew in confidence.

Walker pulled off a fine reflex save to save Coventry substitute Jonson Clarke-Harris’s clever near-post flick from a corner before with 12 minutes to go, Dickenson entered the fray for Vincent-Young to make his first appearance for the U’s since suffering a serious knee injury in April, 2017.

And after Dickenson's delivery had flown across the face of the area, Ogedi-Uzokwe floated in a cross that Mandron headed home to give the U's a big win.