A second half fight back from Colchester United left Notts County empty handed in a game that they could have easily won.
Notts dominated the opening period and Craig Westcarr's neat finish sent them in at the break a goal to the good. However, U's super sub Kayode Odejayi netted a second half brace to steal all three points.
The Magpies went into the fixture with the aim of recording back-to-back league wins for the first time this season. With the npower League 1 table wide open, a good run of results would undoubtedly see Notts climb towards the top-six, which they trailed by only three points prior to kick-off.
Manager Craig Short was forced to make one alteration from the team that beat Plymouth last weekend, due to Neal Bishop picking up a knee injury. Reverting to a diamond formation, Karl Hawley returned for his second start of the campaign, taking up a spot behind the front pairing of Lee Hughes and Westcarr.
And it was this formation that helped to created the first goal of the game on eight minutes. Hawley collected and turned in space, before slicing open the defence for Westcarr to prod through the legs of the home goalkeeper, Ben Williams.
After applying the finishing touch, Westcarr remained grounded with an injury to his right leg. Although he returned to the action, he pulled up again moments later and was soon replaced by Kevin Smith.
The replacement forward was involved heavily in Notts' next chance, a short set-piece from the left wing. A series of intricate interchanges, also involving Ricky Ravenhill and Hawley, led to Ben Davies breaking free inside the box but his low hit lacked venom.
Statistics showed that Colchester were the best performing first half side in the division but Notts were looking the hungrier of the two outfits. As part of this dominance, County could have added a second on more than one occasion.
John Spicer struck wide of the target twice and Davies worried Williams with a direct free kick, though Hawley's opportunity was arguably the finest of the flurry. A swift move down the right involving Spicer and Hughes saw the latter fire low towards Hawley, who placed the ball just past the wrong side of the post.
The U's were offering very little and the home support was evidently becoming agitated - highlighted by ironic jeers followed David Perkins' tame effort from 25 yards. Calls for 4-4-2 began surfacing and the hosts' boss, John Ward, responded by bringing on towering forward Kayode Odejayi for midfielder Anthony Wordsworth - scrapping the initial 4-5-1.
Notts came out in the second half promisingly and may have grabbed a second inside five minutes. Trickery by Hawley near the touchline enabled him to tee up Spicer, who waited unmarked on the edge of the area, but he volleyed into the stands.
United, of course, were hunting for a leveller and the substitute, Odejayi, was seemingly their biggest threat - not just in a literal sense. A fluid attack down the right allowed him in behind the Notts backline but Rob Burch charged out to punt the ball out of play, earning a free kick for his bravery in the process.
Progressively, the U's gained a stranglehold on the game and started to dictate most of the play. Much of their success was coming from the right wing, as Brian Wilson started to make his presence felt.
The attacking full-back, in the best of his attacking surges, centred beautifully towards Jamie Vincent, whose slight flick sent the ball in the direction of David Mooney. Deterred by the touch, Mooney wasn't able to connect sufficiently enough and his attempt trickled well wide.
Closer to the target was the striker's next shot, this time from distance. Burch appeared to be beaten, as he flung himself across goal, but he was relieved to watch the ball fly inches past the top corner.
Colchester didn't fail with their next effort, which came from a free kick over on the right flank. Tom Williams floated the ball towards goal, allowing Odejayi to glance past Burch, who had rushed off his line to punch clear.
And Odejayi added his second on 83 minutes, after the Magpies' defence struggled to clear the danger. From the left, Williams floated a cross towards the back post, where Odejayi rose highest to powerfully head home.
Smith was omitted to make way for Jake Jervis, as Notts looked to draw level. And his lay-off might have created the equaliser but Jon Harley's thumping strike shaved the crossbar.
Three minutes of added time saw little created, despite both centre-backs being sent up front. Notts were once again punished for not making the most of their dominance and go into the next game against Southampton without Lee Hughes, who picked up his fifth caution of the season.
Magpie Player Man of the Match: Karl Hawley