Morecambe snapped their three-game losing run as debutant Adam Phillips earned them a point.
The Shrimps had trailed to Frank Nouble’s first-half effort at a wet and windy Globe Arena, only for Phillips to level from close range in the second period.
Shrimps’ boss Derek Adams had made six changes from the side beaten in their last game at Bradford City on New Year’s Day.
He handed debuts to all four of his recent signings - Toumani Diagouraga, Jordan Slew, Ryan Cooney and Phillips - as well as recalling Cole Stockton and Sam Lavelle.
Out went John O’Sullivan, A-Jay Leitch Smith, Ritchie Sutton, Aaron Wildig, Tom Brewitt and George Tanner with no Lewis Alessandra or Kevin Ellison altogether.
Both sides began relatively quietly though Morecambe showed some nice touches in possession, albeit without creating much in the way of scoring opportunities.
Phillips was the first player to chance his arm with a 25-yard free-kick that dipped narrowly over the bar, moments before Mark Halstead was forced to push behind Luke Norris’ effort at the other end.
The deadlock was broken on 35 minutes in contentious fashion as far as the home players were concerned.
Lavelle’s clearance seemed to hit an opposing player on its way out, only for referee Robert Lewis to award Colchester a throw.
If that was fortunate, there was nothing lucky about the way that Ryan Clampin got free down the left with his cross finished emphatically by Nouble.
It was almost 2-0 before the break but, fortunately for the Shrimps, Harry Pell’s deflected effort went narrowly wide with Halstead stranded.
The Shrimps kept plugging away after the break with Slew seeing his effort kept out by Dean Gerken.
However, they came within inches of going two goals down as Halstead turned Kwame Poku’s angled shot onto the upright.
The keeper also had to be alert to keep out Callum Harriott’s corner before denying Pell’s fiercely-struck free-kick from distance.
Slew spurned Morecambe’s best chance when he blazed over after Gerken had kept out Phillips’ shot but the Shrimps drew level on 69 minutes.
Moments after his introduction, O’Sullivan whipped in a fine cross from the right-hand side and Phillips finished clinically.
Both sides pushed for the winner with Halstead turning away Nouble’s shot but the visitors were reduced to 10 men when Ryan Jackson picked up two bookings in nine minutes for fouls on Carlos Mendes-Gomes.
Leitch-Smith came off the bench to volley over and see another shot blocked but, despite five added minutes, honours ended even.
Morecambe: Halstead, Cooney, Lavelle, Old, Conlan, Diagouraga, Kenyon, Phillips, Mendes-Gomes, Stockton (Leitch-Smith 80), Slew (O’Sullivan 67). Subs not used: Da Silva Mendes, Sutton, Brewitt, Tanner.
Colchester United: Gerken, Jackson, Eastman, Prosser, Clampin, Pell, Stevenson, Nouble, Poku (Ogedi-Uzokwe 82), Harriott (Gambin 71, Lapslie 85), Norris. Subs not used: Ross, Comley, Kensdale, Fernandes.
Referee: Robert Lewis.