John Coleman praised Stanley's spirit after they battled with 10 men to claim a point at Colchester.

The hosts had led from the 40th minute thanks to Noah Chilvers’ fine 25-yard low strike after Riley Harbottle had initially brought the ball forward into his path.

The Reds were then reduced to 10 men in the first minute of the second half when Brad Hills was sent off for lashing out at Tom Hopper near the halfway line.

However, Stanley claimed a point with an 80th-minute equaliser after Harbottle diverted Kelvin Mellor’s cross into his own net.

“We were poor in the first half, I thought it was a poor game. We didn’t offer anything going forward in the first half or nowhere near as much as we should have done," said Coleman.

“It was a controversial goal that they have scored. Play is allowed to go on and the referee has obviously missed it.

“The big turning point is the sending-off. I was speaking to John Akinde when he came off and he said it was a yellow at the very, very worst. That it not me saying that, that is their centre-forward and he was closer than me, but that is football.

“It wouldn’t be the first time this season that we get a harsh decision against us and it definitely won’t be the last, so you have just got to get on with it.

“I thought we showed terrific spirit and nullified their chances and our keeper has barely made a save.”