Barrow 2
Colchester United 3.

BARROW suffered a painful defeat in a five-goal thriller which had everything last night.

The Bluebirds led early on through debutant Jordan Stevens before Alan Judge and Freddie Sears gave Colchester the lead.

Ollie Banks equalised with a penalty, his fourth goal in as many games, but Tom Eastman grabbed a late winner 10 minutes from time.

Both sides finished the game with ten men as Colchester’s Luke Chambers and hosts’ James Jones were both sent off.

Boss Mark Cooper named an unchanged line-up for the clash against the Essex side – which turned into a real end-to-end clash. And it was the hosts who had the first chance of the evening at Holker Street.

Banks found space in the third minute but could only blast over the bar. But the visitors started to find their feet after a brief spell of defending.

Stevens fired wide of the mark for the U’s as they started to threaten.

In-form Offrande Zanzala, who was a summer signing from neighbours Carlisle United, powered an effort wide after Josh Gordon did well to tee him up.

And the pair swapped roles as Gordon fired over after Zanzala chested the ball into his path.

But Stevens made no mistake in the 25th minute as Stevens marked his first appearance for the club with a dream goal.

However the lead didn’t last long. Former Brentford and Ipswich man Judge levelled proceedings ten minutes later as he tapped home after a quick-fire counter attack.

And it went from bad to worse for Cooper’s charges as they went from leading to behind in the space of three minutes.

The hosts were caught napping as United made it two. Sears pounced well to nip in and fire beyond helpless Paul Farman.

Cooper’s half-time team talk almost worked instant wonders.

Zanzala was agonisingly close to restoring parity but he couldn’t quite force the ball home after Patrick Brough kept the ball alive at the back post.

And the striker squandered a great chance when he headed straight at Shamal George just before the hour mark.

Barrow somehow failed to level moments later as Zanzala had an effort well blocked before Brough had a strike cleared off the line.

Colchester were down to ten with 22 minutes left as Chambers was given his marching orders. And seconds later Robbie Gotts was left frosted by flying stopper George after his curling effort was somehow kept out.

Stevens capped his memorable debut by winning a penalty with 15 minutes to go as Banks fired home from 12 yards.

But parity lasted just five minutes as the visitors reclaimed the lead through Eastman’s fine header.

Late substitute Josh Kay almost stole a share of the spoils as his effort flew wide – and Jones was sent off right at the death to make matters worse.