Colchester United - who Carlisle United face next week - have sacked boss Steve Ball.

The Essex club announced that the head coach had left his role after their 2-1 home defeat to Exeter.

The defeat - extending a 13-game winless run - left the Us fourth bottom in League Two.

In a statement, Colchester owner and chairman Robbie Cowling said: "Following the game tonight and a discussion I had with Steve, it was decided that the best way forward was for him to leave his position as head coach."

"Steve has been with the club in different capacities for a long time and I would like it placed on record our thanks to him for his hard work and dedication."

Ball had been in charge since last July, the 51-year-old having succeeded John McGreal.

But a poor run of results has left Colchester at risk of being sucked into a relegation battle.

Assistant boss Hayden Mullins faced the media after the Exeter defeat shortly before Bell's exit was confirmed.

They sit nine points above the relegation zone and, after facing Forest Green this Saturday, host Carlisle next Tuesday.

The club have since confirmed that former Colchester favourite Wayne Brown has been placed in temporary charge.