BOWERS & Pitsea fell to a 2-0 defeat as they got their preparations for a first ever campaign in the Isthmian Premier League underway against Colchester United.

Louis Dunne and Luke Norris’ second half goals proved decisive in the pre-season friendly, which attracted a decent crowd to the Len Salmon Stadium.

The outing allowed boss Rob Small to hand starts to summer signings Callum Chafer and Kenzer Lee, while fellow recent arrivals Marlon Agyakwa and Dan Trendall appeared off the bench.

The League Two side enjoyed the majority of possession in the early exchanges and Courtney Senior dragged an early opportunity wide of the target for the away side.

Bowers limited the visitors’ early opportunities and the first effort in vain proved to come from the hosts.

After Colchester right-back Ryan Jackson cleared a corner, Ryan Sammons sent a speculative strike goalwards and stung the hands of U’s goalkeeper Ethan Ross.

With the interval approaching, former Southend United striker Frank Nouble found himself through on goal. But the ex-Blues man was denied by Bowers shot-stopper Chafer, who was making his first appearance for the club following a summer return from Hornchurch.

Bowers then missed a glorious chance to go ahead on the stroke of half-time as James Thomas nodded wide when unmarked from close range.

The U’s Kane Vincent-Young forced a good save out of Chafer, while Andre Hasanally was thwarted on the goal-line as the away side made a promising start to the second period.

However, summer signings Agyakwa and Trendall combined as Bowers went close to breaking the deadlock.

Former Canvey Island winger Agyakwa’s trickery allowed him to beat his man and swing an inviting cross into the Colchester danger zone, but Trendall’s effort went wide of the target.

Colchester grabbed the opener on the hour mark as Vincent-Young beat Agyakwa before pulling the ball back for Dunne to slot home.

Bowers went in search of an immediate reply as Quentin Monville’s dangerous cross picked out Luke Hirst, but the striker’s diving header was comfortably kept out.

Chafer made a superb fingertip save to deny Dunne a second goal of the evening, while Norris headed Cameron James’ cross over the crossbar.

But Norris was not to be kept off the scoresheet as the striker tapped a James centre home from close range with just five minutes remaining.