THERE was more misery in Essex for Newport County AFC as they went down to a 3-1 defeat at Colchester United.

Tristan Abrahams gave County a dream start with a goal in the fifth minute but that was as good as it got for the visitors.

Colchester turned the match on its head with two goals before the break and Courtney Senior’s superb strike sealed the win 15 minutes from time.

Abrahams, who came off the bench to rescue a point against Crawley Town in midweek, was rewarded with a starting spot.

And George Nurse, who has impressed as a substitute over the past few weeks, earned his first start in the EFL.

That meant Joss Labadie and Jamille Matt dropping to the bench and a switch to 4-4-2 with Nurse and Ryan Haynes combining down the left and Danny McNamara and Robbie Willmott on the right.

With the four teams above them at the start of the day all seeing their games postponed due to waterlogged pitches, County knew that a win could take them to the top of the table.

But history was not on their side as the club had not tasted victory in Colchester since 1972, and they hadn’t even scored a goal in the city since 1973.

The Exiles needed a good start and they got it, putting one of those unwanted records to bed with their first proper attack in the fifth minute.

Josh Sheehan slipped a perfectly-weighted pass through the middle for Abrahams to race on to and slot the ball under Colchester goalkeeper Dean Gerken.

But the hosts responded well and quickly set about what was the best defence in the division with relish.

Robbie Willmott scrambled the ball off the line from a Tom Eastman header after a Colchester corner caused chaos in the box.

Kwame Poku then fired over from the edge of the area and Senior’s long-distance effort lacked the power to trouble Tom King.

Former Exiles man Frank Nouble and ex-Arsenal left-back Cohen Bramall were causing problems down the left flank and the latter almost created a goal for Luke Norris with a cross into the box but the striker’s side-footed volley was just wide.

It felt like an equaliser was coming and it duly arrived in the 33rd minute from Ryan Jackson, another former County man.

The right-back took advantage of a slip from Nurse to get a shot away from 20 yards out and a big deflection off Mark O'Brien took it up and over King and into the net.

County looked a threat on the break in the opening stages, but the home side forced them back as the first-half progressed.

Senior almost put the U’s ahead with a fierce low drive from distance but King was equal to it with an excellent save.

But the comeback was completed three minutes before the interval after Inniss was booked for chopping down Nouble wide on the left.

The free-kick was only half cleared and when Abrahams just failed to claim a loose ball, Ben Stevenson curled his shot into the top corner from outside the area.

South Wales Argus:

For the second match running, Flynn made two half-time substitutions with Labadie and Matt replacing Nurse and Willmott.

The changes certainly gave the visitors more threat up front and Labadie sent a half volley wide before picking up his fifth booking of the season and with it a one-game ban.

Nouble and Bramall continued to pose questions at the other end, however, and the latter fired just over the top after a lay-off from the former just before the hour mark.

Labadie snatched at another half chance, dragging his shot wide, and Poku twisted and turned around two Exiles defenders before blazing a shot over the top as the end-to-end contest continued.

Scot Bennett then ventured forward to send a half volley just wide from all of 30 yards as County continued to push for an equaliser.

But a superb solo goal from Senior wrapped up the points for John McGreal’s men with 15 minutes remaining.

It could have been worse in the end but King made a flying save to keep out a Norris free-kick and Luke Prosser had a goal disallowed for offside.

Substitute Luke Gambin’s effort nicked the outside of the post and Nouble almost got a deserved goal at the death.

There was no way back for Flynn’s men at one of their least favourite grounds.

County: King; McNamara, Inniss, O’Brien, Haynes; Willmott (Matt, 46), Sheehan, Bennett, Nurse (Labadie, 46); Amond (Dolan, 76), Abrahams

Subs not used: Townsend, Whitely, Collins, Poleon

Booked: Inniss, Labadie, Haynes

Referee: James Oldham

Attendance: 2,955 (180 County)

Argus star man: Sheehan