Colchester United boss Steve Ball could not hide his disappointment after his side tumbled to a 3-0 defeat at Morecambe this afternoon.

Adam Phillips gave the hosts the lead just before half-time, after both Callum Harriott and Tommy Smith had hit the woodwork.

Toumani Diagouraga extended Morecambe's lead after the break and after U's skipper Harry Pell had been sent off for violent conduct on the hour mark, John O’Sullivan wrapped up the hosts' win at the Mazuma Stadium.

Colchester are now seven without a win in League Two and Ball admits it was a disappointing afternoon, especially after his team had been the better side in the first half.

Ball said: "I thought we dominated the first half.

"We hit the woodwork twice, we had four or five great efforts on goal and executed the game plan to perfection which we thought we could come here and hit them on the counter attack with our pace.

"There were some absolute key moments when we could have put people in one on one to go and get ahead.

"We didn't take our opportunities, we were really unlucky and then right on half-time, the goal has changed the dynamic of the game.

"It was a real blow to concede and the dressing room was really down at half-time.

"But we picked them up but we were by far the better side in the first half and they knew that as well.

"They were wary of our threats but this game is about defending your box and scoring in the other box and we didn't defend our box, bang on half-time.

"Whether we're trying to play offside, I'll look at it back but Phillips has unfortunately got through and it's a really good finish.

"We had all the possession and chances in the first half and they've had few and the one they did have they took.

"That's why they're up there winning games of football and that's why probably at the minute, we're not.

"It's something we need to address and work on and keep on working on."

Pell was given his marching orders for violent conduct after squaring up to Morecambe defender Ryan Cooney, following the U's midfielder's challenge on Phillips.

Ball added: "Harry's absolutely adamant that there's no contact and that it's a fair tackle and I thought so, too.

"There was a skirmish; I think there was a face to face going on but Harry's adamant that there was no violent conduct but I've spoken to the referee and he's assured me he saw some violent conduct or his assistant referee did.

"I couldn't see it from where I was.

"Our analyst Dan Griffiths was filming the game on the side of the dugouts but we'll look at the Morecambe guy's footage on that side and see what's gone on."