Colchester United’s last-gasp defeat at Meadow Lane was not quite daylight robbery.

But in a county commonly associated with Robin Hood and his exploits, the U’s must have felt that Notts County snatched all three points from under their very noses.

Colchester’s players were naturally left crestfallen after their defeat, where a late goal condemned them to a cruel loss.

The manner of their 2-1 reverse at the joint League Two leaders was pretty tough to take, particularly after they had battled back to score a late equaliser.

Naturally, the U’s journey back to Essex was a quiet one, on Saturday night.

But as the dust settles on the setback and Colchester begin a brand new week of training, they can at least reflect on an enterprising performance that saw them push their high-flying hosts all the way.

Their first-half display in particular attracted praise from Magpies boss Kevin Nolan, who admitted the U’s caused his high-flying side plenty of problems and took them to the wire.

Indeed, the fact that Nolan and his coaching team were so animated on the touchline was a sign of how effective Colchester were in stifling their hosts’ considerable threat.

Arguably, the U’s first-half display was their best 45 minutes of the season considering the opposition but their lack of reward proved costly in the second half.

Nevertheless, it was their first league defeat since mid-October and their first away loss since losing 3-1 at Cheltenham Town, on September 16.

Colchester now have a two-week gap between matches, owing to their FA Cup exit at the hands of Oxford City earlier this month.

It will be a chance for McGreal and his players to reflect not only on their performance at Notts County but also a productive last couple of months which has seen them rise to within three points of the play-off places, heading into a busy December period.

There are tough games coming up against Exeter City and Swindon Town, who currently reside above the U’s in the table.

But if they can reproduce the kind of display they put in at Meadow Lane, there is no reason why Colchester cannot head into the key Christmas and New Year period in play-off form.