Colchester United head coach John McGreal bemoaned his side's wastefulness in front of goal after they tumbled to a 3-1 defeat at Cheltenham Town.

The U's spurned a number of opportunities in front of goal at Whaddon Road and were also sloppy in their own box at Whaddon Road, as they fell to a fourth successive away defeat in League Two.

McGreal said: "We were so wasteful.

"We played with two strikers to get opportunities and we created them - they should be putting the ball in the net and they haven't.

"Even late on, it's not good enough.

"We worked ever so hard to create opportunities but we're not taking them at the minute.

After Nicke Kabamba had spurned a gilt-edged chance in the first minute, two goals from Kevin Dawson put Cheltenham 2-0 ahead inside 15 minutes.

And although Sammie Szmodics pulled a goal back for the U's from the spot just before half-time, they were left up against it when Mikael Mandron was sent off for deliberate handball just before the hour.

Colchester keeper Sam Walker saved Brian Graham's subsequent spot-back but Jamie Grimes restored the hosts' two-goal lead soon after.

The U's had plenty of chances to get back into the game after that with Szmodics, Kane Vincent-Young and substitute Brandon Hanlan all going close, but it proved to be another disappointing away day for McGreal's side.

"It was a poor defeat," added McGreal "We started the game well again and we had two opportunities to score that we didn't take.

"In a heartbeat, we found ourselves two goals down - the first one was poor defending and the second one took a deflection.

"We tried to regroup and we got a goal back into it.

"We addressed things at half-time and changed the shape and we came flying out of the traps.

"We switched it into a diamond and it was working really well but you have to defend set pieces, as we do.

"Mika said he had to do it (handle the ball in the area) because he seemed to think that it was going on but he hasn't.

"It will be another one to look at really but if you put your hands in the air, then you're going to give the referee to do what he's done.

"It was a great penalty save by Sam (Walker) but we're down to ten men and then we have to readjust again.

"We changed the shape again and then it was a bit of a blur in the green kit.

"We just kept going after them and the next minute, we concede and it's 3-1.

"After that, we must have easily have had six or seven great opportunities to score and that was the story of the game."