COLCHESTER United will be a competitive force in League Two this season, according to Stevenage caretaker boss Mark Sampson.

The U's ran out 3-1 winners at the JobServe Community Stadium, thanks to goals from Tom Eastman, Frank Nouble and Kwame Poku.

Jason Cowley had put bottom club Stevenage ahead in the first half with a deflected strike but Colchester roared back to win, in the second half.

Sampson said: "Colchester's frontline are good players at this level.

"Their wide left player caused us a problem and the bench as well.

"They're a team that are going to be competitive - we know that.

"I was here for the Tottenham game when they beat them and knocked them out of the League Cup.

"We knew that they'd be a good side and we controlled for large spells all of their good players.

"But when you allow a team like Colchester good territory at this level, they'll eventually weigh you down.

"What we did so well in the first half was play the game in the right areas.

"But in the second half, we just didn't have the mindset and we allowed those good players time on the ball, which is going to cause you problems.

"You can make tactical changes from the side but you have to smell the game more and moments."

Stevenage remain rooted to the bottom of the table after failing to win any of their opening 12 games, in League Two.

Sampson said: “It was a massively and hugely disappointing result.

“We were exactly where we wanted to be in the first half.

“We came to a difficult place and quietened the crowd and controlled the game.

“We scored a good goal and came in at half-time feeling like we were the team in control of the game and if any team was going to score, it looked like it might be us.

“But we can’t start the second half in that manner – we said at half-time that Colchester were going to come out with a high tempo.

“We gave the ball away in a bad area, suddenly they’re on the counter-attack and we don’t defend the set-piece well.

“The players got some control back but then we made some bad decisions and concede a penalty and you can’t concede another goal straight away in that manner like that, because the game’s over.”