Noah Chilvers was on target as Colchester United under-23s lost 2-1 at home to Crewe Alexandra last night, writes BRIAN WALLER.

A U's side featuring the likes of Omar Sowunmi, Cohen Bramall and Ollie Kensdale along with new loanees Brendan Wiredu and Freddie Hinds fell to defeat in a Professional Development League Two game of relatively few chances, at the JobServe Community Stadium.

Colchester had the first chance in the opening moments when Kwame Poku was denied by keeper Sam Booth at his near post.

As the visitors threatened for the first time, Lewis Reilly played in James Jones but his attempt was saved by keeper Ethan Ross.

And soon after, Callum Ainley tried his luck from the left with his effort on the turn flying wide of the far post.

Ainley curled a shot wide of the far post before Joshua Lundstram's clever chip into the box saw Wiredu clear the danger.

Crewe took the lead after 28 minutes through Oliver Finney, who converted from close range after Rio Adebisi had broke strongly down the left and crossed.

Colchester fought back strongly and Hinds' shot was diverted wide by Booth for a corner, after Andre Hasanally had played him in.

And the U's were only behind for four minutes as Chilvers drove a low right foot shot past Booth down to his left, after some fine work by Dean Ager.

Ager and Louis Dunne both had efforts blocked soon after while Wiredu's back-post header from Bramall's cross was well saved by Booth, as the teams went in level at the break.

Colchester were so unlucky not to take the lead early in the second half when Poku's sublime effort smacked against the inside of the far post, ran across the goalmouth and then went away to safety, after good combination work between Wiredu and Chilvers.

But soon after, Sowunmi was penalised for handball in the box after Finney had flicked the ball up and Lewis Reilly put away the resulting spot-kick.

Wiredu saw his shot blocked away for a corner as the U’s kept searching for an equaliser.

Hasanally's deep cross picked out Poku's back-post run but he could only find the side netting, while substitute Michael Fernandes' left-foot effort was tipped over the bar by Booth.

But there was to be no way back in it for the hosts.

U's U23: Ross, Wiredu, Kensdale, Sowunmi, Bramall (sub Kazeem, 46), Ager (sub Fernandes, 54), Chilvers, Dunne, Poku, Hasanally (sub Collinge), Hinds. Subs (not used): Coulter, Weaire.