Hartlepool and Colchester began their Sky Bet League Two campaigns with a spirited 1-1 draw at the Northern Gas & Power Stadium.
Tom Eastman enjoyed a dream start to the season as he put Colchester ahead inside five minutes, but skipper Billy Paynter earned Pools a share of the spoils from the penalty spot.
The game began in frenetic fashion, with Colchester capitalising on some disjointed defending to take a fourth-minute lead.
After Sammie Szmodics' effort deflected just wide, Pools made a mess of clearing the resulting corner and Eastman was left unmarked to curl home from eight yards.
Hartlepool responded impressively, though, and levelled through Paynter's 28th-minute spot-kick after Craig Slater brought down Nathan Thomas.
Craig Hignett's men then took control of the game and almost went ahead when debutant Padraig Amond blazed Thomas' cross over.
Colchester spurned a golden opportunity of their own in the second period as Kurtis Guthrie struck wide with the goal at his mercy following a fine counter-attack.
Dion Sembie-Ferris forced a good stop from Trevor Carson as both sides settled for a point.