COLCHESTER United's under-23s were denied an away victory by a last-gasp equaliser, writes BRIAN WALLER.

The U's looked on course to win at Barnsley but a late leveller forced them to settle for a 2-2 draw, in their latest Professional Development League Two clash.

Colchester's youngsters made the long trip to Yorkshire to take on Martin Devaney’s side, who were playing their first match for three weeks.

In the sides’ last game, Barnsley had drawn 1-1 in the South Yorkshire derby with Sheffield United which was played at the Technique Stadium in Chesterfield.

For their part the U’s had lost in their local derby, 2-0 at home to Ipswich Town.

When the two sides had met last season, it was the Tykes who won 3-1 on home soil.

In the match played at the Oakwell Training Ground, it was a meeting of two sides who were both fifth in their divisional tables.

Barnsley had a great chance to take the lead on four minutes but the spot-kick taken by Dan Bramall was saved by the Colchester keeper.

However it was the hosts who took the lead just before the half hour mark when Bramall redeemed himself, cutting in from the left and driving his shot into the far corner of the net after 26 minutes.

But just when the hosts looked to be going into the half-time interval ahead, the U’s hit back in first-half stoppage-time.

They levelled things up right on the break with a goal by Alfie Cerulli who fired a shot home from 20 yards out.

Around the hour mark, the hosts made three separate substitutions in a ten-minute spell as off went Victor Sodeinde, Brad Binns and Mike Bahre to be replaced by Steven Simpson, Kareem Hassan-Smith and Lloyd Smith.

Into the last quarter of hour and it was the visitors who took the lead as on the counter attack.

Barnsleey keeper Corey Addai saved from Jake Hutchinson but Tom Stagg was on hand to put away the rebound, with 12 minutes remaining.

However there was to be a final twist as the home team levelled very late on with a goal by Steve Simpson, who netted with a superb overhead kick in the third minute of stoppage-time to force a share of the spoils.