TOWN boss Lee Clark was left to rue another two points going begging as another late strike saw his team have to settle for a draw.
Colchester’s Dean Hammond fired home an injury time goal from a free kick to earn a 2-2 draw.
Hammond had given United a first half lead from the penalty, but Clark’s team bounced back and strikes by Anthony Pilkington and Gary Roberts had seemingly put Town on the road to victory.
Clark stressed that it was not a pattern that he wanted to see repeating itself – adding that he felt a top six place could have been within their sights had points not been frittered away.
“It’s tough to take, but we have to rectify the situation of getting in front and then stopping doing those things that got us in front,” said Clark.
“We stopped playing the passes that had brought us our goals, and instead we let them have the ball and we let them play.
“We stopped creating any options for ourselves and we began to put pressure on ourselves.
“It is proving a costly habit for us. That is four points that have been lost in the last two games due to conceding late goals.
“If you add in the Northampton game and, to a lesser extent the game against Leicester, you are looking at six points that have been squandered – points that could have put us in the top six.”
One bonus for Clark is the new deal struck for highly-rated England under-19 Alex Smithies.
The goalkeeper, who is 19 tomorrow, has signed a new four year contract to keep him at the club until June 2013.
Clark said: “We have said from day one that we wanted to keep Alex but there have been several Premiership clubs watching on a continuous basis and making enquiries as he is one of the best young goalkeepers in the country.
“Thankfully we have been able to secure his services.”