Paul Simpson reckoned there was plenty to build on in Carlisle United’s battling draw at Colchester.

The Blues boss, while admitting his side still need to finish their chances better, saw lots of good qualities in his developing team.

Kristian Dennis’s second goal in successive games earned the Cumbrians a point on one of their longest away days of the season.

The 1-1 draw made it four points from six at the start of the campaign and manager Simpson said: “I’m satisfied.

"We came in wanting to win it, we had opportunities to win it, and it didn’t happen, so if you’re not gonna win you make sure you don’t lose.

READ MORE: Dennis header earns Blues a point on road

“The way the players defended at the end – Tomas [Holy] had to make a save, we got blocks in, closed people down…I thought we did a hell of a lot of good things.

“In the first half we did some good stuff in possession going forward, and in the second half we defended for our lives and earned the point.”

United went behind to a 19th-minute Noah Chilvers strike before Dennis headed home an Owen Moxon cross shortly before half-time.

The Blues carved out lots of chances in the first half before Wayne Brown’s U’s had the better of things after the break.

Simpson said: “I always knew this was going to be a really tough place to come. Not just because of the journey but they’ve got some really good experienced players.

“Wayne’s put together a really good group of players. But we actually thought if we could go and stamp our way of playing on them, we might just get ourselves ahead and hang on for life.

“We probably should, without being unkind to Colchester, have been 3-0 or 4-0 up in the first half with chances created.

“We then go and score probably, it’s fair to say, a scruffy goal, but I’m not bothered how they go in. I’d have taken three other scruffy ones.

News and Star: United celebrate the equaliser scored by Kristian Dennis, leftUnited celebrate the equaliser scored by Kristian Dennis, left

“The second half was different. They were probably on top and showed the qualities they’ve got, but as a group the players defended very well, the subs came on and did a job for us and we managed to get a valuable point.”

Simpson also accepted United played themselves into trouble for the goal that saw Colchester take the lead.

“It’s a disappointing one. Although this is a lovely surface, it’s really dry and the ball was dragging on it,” he said.

“I said to the players, ‘Let’s not take chances, let’s look forward and play forward’ – and we get out, and then go backwards, then square, and it’s a mistake from Ben [Barclay], but we shouldn’t have been in that position.

“It should have gone forward from the first pass from Mells [Jon Mellish], then it doesn’t happen.

“We’ve got to make sure we learn from these little mistakes. Let’s not beat about the bush, we have players who are still learning, who have deficiencies, that’s why we are at this level, we have to accept there’s going to be some errors along the way.

“I just think if we cut out the errors and do the things we know we’re capable of, we can minimise the errors as much as possible.”

Simpson, though, was impressed with how Dennis earned Carlisle a draw with a well-taken header.

“It was a really good finish – he did what he does, he’s a goalscorer,” said the manager, who also gave second-half sub debuts to new signings Jayden Harris and Jack Stretton.

“We felt as though we could be a threat from set plays but the delivery wasn’t quite right. But the delivery on a second phase from Mox [Owen Moxon] was fantastic. Denno’s in a good position and gets a little flick on it.

“We had other opportunities that were maybe better than that. Sadly they’re all ifs and buts because they didn’t happen.

“But a lot of good things can happen if we can just keep building.”