A GOAL from new boy Adam Phillips earned the Shrimps a deserved draw at the Globe Arena.
Morecambe went into the break a goal down after Frank Nouble’s 35th-minute strike with Phillips levelling proceedings with a headed goal midway through the second half.
Boss Derek Adams made six changes to the side that lost at Bradford on New Year’s Day with debuts for all four January signings Phillips, Toumani Diagouraga, Jordan Slew and Ryan Cooney with John O’Sullivan, A-Jay Leitch Smith, Ritchie Sutton, Aaron Wildig, Tom Brewitt and George Tanner dropping to the bench.
After a tough start for both sides with the swirling wind playing a huge part in the game, Phillips was the first to try his luck from distance with a long-range free-kick that dipped just over the bar.
At the other end, Mark Halstead was forced to push behind Luke Norris’s shot from the right-hand side before the visitors took the lead in controversial fashion on 35 minutes.
Referee Rob Lewis awarded Colchester a throw-in which should have gone the other way and they took full advantage when Ryan Clampin worked his way down the left and drilled in a superb low cross which was met by Nouble in the six-yard box.
The Shrimps almost found themselves 2-0 down in first-half injury time when Harry Pell’s long-range shot was deflected inches wide with Mark Halstead left wrong-footed.
Colchester continued to put pressure on the Morecambe goal early in the second half with Halstead producing a superb save to tip Kwame Poku’s shot from the right-hand side of the area against the foot of the post before reacting sharply to punch away Callum Harriott’s inswinging corner and then saving smartly from Pell’s fiercely-struck 20-yard free-kick.
The Shrimps then hit back with the dangerous Phillips seeing a shot parried by Dean Gerkan with Jordan Slew blazing the rebound over from close range before the Shrimps drew level on 69 minutes.
Substitute O’Sullivan, with his first touch of the game, delivered a pinpoint cross from the right-hand side and Phillips finished superbly with a header past Gerken.
Both sides pushed for the winner with Halstead turning away Nouble’s shot before Colchester went down to 10 men when Ryan Jackson was sent off for two bookings in quick succession on Carlos Mendes-Gomes who ended the game a real threat.
The Shrimps looked the more likely team to pinch the points with A-Jay Leitch-Smith seeing two efforts blocked before volleying over at the far post.
Morecambe: Halstead, Cooney, Lavelle, Old, Conlan, Diagouraga, Kenyon, Phillips, Mendes-Gomes, Stockton (Leitch-Smith 80), Slew (O’Sullivan 67). Subs not used: Da Silva Mendes, Sutton, Brewitt, Tanner.
Colchester United: Gerken, Jackson, Eastman, Prosser, Clampin, Pell, Stevenson, Nouble, Poku (Ogedi-Uzokwe 82), Harriott (Gambin 71, Lapslie 85), Norris. Subs not used: Ross, Comley, Kensdale, Fernandes.
Referee: Robert Lewis.