Morecambe ended 2018 with an excellent point at high flying Colchester.
After a poor defensive display at Tranmere on Boxing Day the Shrimps looked much more solid against a home team who struggled to break down Jim Bentley’s well drilled outfit.
While restricting the U’s to few chances Morecambe, who made five changes for the game, could have sneaked the victory themselves with Rhys Oates missing two excellent opportunities.
Colchester started sharply with Luke Norris firing over before before Morecambe had a sight of goal on 10 minutes when A-Jay Leitch-Smith’s shot was charged down by Colchester’s left-back Kane Vincent-Young.
The Shrimps’ best chance came on the half-hour mark when Jordan Cranston, who was moved back into midfield, forced Rene Gilmartin into a fine save. The home keeper parried the long range shot but the ball fell into the path of Oates who could only blaze the rebound high and wide from a good position.
Colchester ended the half on the front foot with Luke Conlan producing a superb covering tackle to foil Szmodics as he looked to run on to the end of Frank Nouble’s cross
Norris then drilled a shot from 20 yards over on 41 minutes with an effort that looked pretty desperate.
The second half saw both side raise their tempo. Morecambe had the first chance to break the deadlock, early in the second half.
The U’s failed to clear a corner delivered by Liam Mandeville and Oates looked certain to score but seemed to get a nudge in the back as he attempted to head home from close range.
Colchester hit back and created several chances in the final stages of the game.
Most of their positive moments came from full back Vincent-Young. First he did well to keep the ball in play, before getting to his feet to beat three defenders and crack in an angled drive which was parried away for a corner by keeper Halstead.
Vincent-Young then went a step closer moments later when he cut inside and drilled a left foot shot against the inside of the post with Halstead beaten with Szmodics thankfully failing to bundle home the rebound.
The Shrimps ended the game with a flurry and almost stole victory at the death.
Kevin Ellison tested Gilmartin with a well-struck 25-yarder before the substitute put in a superb cross from the left that was just too high for Garry Thompson.
COLCHESTER: Gilmartin, Jackson, Prosser, Kent, Vincent-Young, Lapslie, Comley (sub Pell, 73), Nouble, Szmodics, Dickenson (sub Senior, 63), Norris (sub Mandron, 73). Unused subs: Barnes, Wright, Eastman, Gondoh.
MORECAMBE: Halstead, Yarney, Old, Lavelle, Conlan, Kenyon, Mendes-Gomes, Cranston, Oates (sub Ellison, 73), Mandeville (sub Oswell, 73), Leitch-Smith (sub Thompson, 89). Unused subs: Szcezpaniak, Mills, Brownsword, Hedley.
Referee: John Busby (Oxon)
Attendance: 3,653 (71 away fans)