Cheltenham Town won 6-5 on penalties after a thrilling first round Carabao Cup tie at the Jonny-Rocks Stadium.
Cheltenham took the lead after just 47 seconds, Ryan Broom slotting home for his first Robins goal. A Conor Thomas penalty in the 69th minute then doubled the Robins lead.
Two goals in the space of a minute saw Colchester come straight back into the game however, first Sammie Szmodics chipped over Scott Flinders on 79 minutes before Luke Norris hit home from outside the box seconds after the restart.
Courtney Senior missed Colchester’s seventh penalty of the shootout to put Cheltenham into the Second Round.
Cheltenham started the brighter of the two sides, playing most of their football in the Colchester half in the opening minutes.
Colchester’s first chance came to Courtney Senior in the 15th minute, a good run down the right-hand touchline from Ryan Jackson led to a through ball which found Senior, but his effort went wide.
Gary Johnson’s side which included five changes after Saturday’s defeat to Tranmere came straight back at the visitors. Alex Addai raced onto a through ball and tried to lob Barnes first time, the slow chip landed on top of the net.
United then began to create chances of their own , a Harry Pell shot was blocked out of play by Nigel Atangana, and Luke Norris’ effort from the resulting corner ended up in a Cheltenham free-kick for a high foot.
Alex Addai started brightly for the Robins, his pace on the right-hand side was causing problems for the Colchester back line. He won a free-kick 23 minutes in. Maddox crossed it into the box where eventually it fell for Ryan Broom, who managed to get a clear shot off but it was easily stopped by Dillon Barnes.
Will Boyle picked up the first yellow card of the evening, fouling former Robins midfielder Harry Pell on the edge of the box. Luke Norris struck the resulting set piece into the wall and it went out for a corner.
The corner led to John McGreal’s side’s best spell of the first half. Three corners hit the Cheltenham box, before Ryan Broom relieved the pressure with a tackle after a fourth corner went short and was chased down by the number 11.
The first real chance of the second-half fell to Colchester’s Luke Norris, a cross in from the right foot of Ryan Jackson was met by a powerful overhead kick from Norris, which landed just wide of Scott Flinders right post.
Alex Addai had Cheltenham’s first chance of the second half in the sixtieth minute. Jacob Maddox crossed the ball into him, but he couldn’t hit the target with his shot and it rolled wide.
Addai’s chance started a good spell of pressure for the Robins, Will Boyle headed over the bar from a cross, and Ryan Broom had a shot from the edge of the box blocked in quick succession.
Johnny Mullins then stepped into action at the back, Colchester substitute Frank Nouble found himself in a good position in the box, his struck well and Mullins dived in front to block it away with his head.
Jacob Maddox then won the penalty for Cheltenham in the 69th minute, he ran onto a through ball, took the ball past Dillon Barnes before being taken out by the Colchester goalkeeper.
Conor Thomas stepped up to the spot and struck the ball into the left-hand corner to make it 2-0.
Two goals in the space of a minute pulled Colchester all square, first Sammie Szmodics chipped calmly past Flinders, before Luke Norris smashed a shot from outside the box which went straight past the Cheltenham goalkeeper to level things up.
Cheltenham tried to restore their lead, George Lloyd smashing one towards Barnes’ goal, but the volley went over the bar.
This was the Robins last chance of the ninety minutes and it was down to penalties to decide who progressed in the competition, and after seven penalties each, Cheltenham progressed 6-5.
Robins: Flinders (Gk), Mullins, Atangana (Tozer 80), Thomas, Broom, Boyle, Addai (Lloyd 76), Debayo, Maddox (Smith 74), Forster, Kalala. Subs not used: Lovett (Gk), Dawson, McAlinden, Baldwin
Colchester: Barnes (Gk), Jackson, Kent, Senior, Pell, Norris, Dickenson, Comley, Eastman, Mandron (Nouble 67), Collins (Szmodics 67). Subs not used: Vose (Gk), Prosser, Barnes, Wright, Gondoh
Referee: Christopher Sarginson
Attendance: 1,179 (132 from Colchester)