Macclesfield Town claimed a share of the spoils against promotion-chasing Colchester United this afternoon, as Scott Wilson's first half strike was cancelled out by Frank Nouble's 47th minute penalty.
After Manager Sol Campbell had challenged the side to start games in a much more dominant fashion, the players undoubtedly responded. Macc controlled the opening exchanges and stamped their authority on the game right from the first whistle.
With just two minutes on the clock, Miles Welch-Hayes broke down the right before seeing his tantalising cross headed into the arms of Rene Gilmartin by the advancing Harry Smith.
The visitors fought back, and two minutes later Courtney Senior seized on a loose ball before squaring it for Nouble. The physical striker stormed into the area, yet the move ended when he fired well wide of Kieran O'Hara's goal from fifteen yards out.
The Manchester United loanee then made a routine stop to deny Senior from distance, before Ben Stevenson's corner from the left was headed over the bar by Frankie Kent.
Despite this, the hosts were enjoying the bulk of possessions and looked to be in inspired form as they caressed the ball around the hallowed Moss Rose pitch with confidence and conviction.
On 24 minutes Michael Rose floated in a teasing free-kick from the left, which looked to be heading for Scott Wilson in the six yard box - but a desperate last-gasp interception from Kent undoubtedly denied last season's leading scorer the opening goal.
The ball subsequently was cleared to Koby Arthur on the edge of the penalty area, yet his first time effort soared over Gilmartin's bar.
Two minutes later and Rose was in the thick of the action once more, as he unleashed a ferocious thirty-five yard thunderbolt which Gilmartin did well to launch an athletic save to his left.
On the half hour mark the Essex side posed another potent threat, as Stevenson's fierce free-kick from the left was brilliantly headed to safety by David Fitzpatrick from under the crossbar. The resultant corner was whipped into the near post, where it was met by Luke Prosser - yet O'Hara launched a world-class reactionary save to preserve the deadlock.
As the half progressed, the tempo showed no signs of being diluted and although a brief war of attrition developed within the middle of the park, it was abundantly clear that both sides were committed to attacking the opposition with all that they could muster.
A minute before the interval a mesmerising exchange between Harry Smith and Scott Wilson saw the latter storm through on goal and he majestically fired past Gilmartin in front of the adulation of the Star Lane End.
The second half began with the visitors looking to restore parity in the shortest time possible and ultimately they would barely have to wait two minutes before this was secured.
A mazy run from Senior saw him brought down in the box and despite the fact that O'Hara guessed right, Nouble confidently despatched the resultant penalty to bring the Essex side back on level terms.
With the Moss Rose faithful raucously behind them, Sol Campbell's men looked to execute another defiant showing in order to regain the lead. Reece Cole proved to be orchestrating the midfield with his superb vision and neat touches and on 50 minutes, he ran the gauntlet through the Colchester ranks before being impeded twenty-five yards from goal.
The Brentford loanee stepped up to take the subsequent free-kick and was desperately unlucky to see his innovative effort cannon off the bar with Gilmartin well beaten.
Just before the hour mark Colchester launched their own bid to claim maximum points, as Nouble capitalised on a loose ball and fired across the face of goal which forced O'Hara into another stunning save.
After a further period of attrition, Senior launched a darting run down the left for the visitors and pulled the ball back for Nouble who could do more than clear the Star Land End stand.
Cole continued to weave his magic at the other end of the pitch and with fourteen minutes left on the clock, his insightful ball looked to have put Wilson through on goal - yet Gilmartin was quick off his line to eradicate the immediate danger.
Two minutes later and Cole hit a spectacular thirty-five yard effort which saw Gilmartin somehow parry the ball wide of the far post, as the game unquestionably became stretched at both ends of the pitch.
Liandro Martis was then introduced to the action and his terrifying pace was something which the visiting defence could barely contain for the remainder of the contest.
With ten minutes left to play, Macc were handed a free-kick twenty yards from goal which captured the imagination of the Moss Rose faithful. Cole stepped up once more and he deceptively fired the ball towards the near post which looked to have restored our lead. At the last second, Gilmartin launched a phenomenal stop to turn the ball around the post and with it, deprived Sol Campbell's men of a winner with arguably the last real chance of the game.
Macclesfield Town: O'Hara, Fitzpatrick, Kelleher, Wilson, Smith, Welch-Hayes, Arthur (Martis '78), Rose, Cole, Jules, Ntambwe (Maycock '68).
Subs not used: Durrell, Lloyd, Idem, Demetriou, Biabi.
Attendance: 2092 (263 visitors).