Albion enjoyed the better chances but had to settle for a goalless draw away to fourth-placed Colchester tonight.

It is a measure of how far Gus Poyet's men have come in recent weeks that will go home disappointed not to take all three points.

The Seagulls played by far the better football throughout against a physical Colchester side whose main tactic was pumping the ball long.

In that respect, Tommy Elphick and Adam El-Abd were superb at the back for Albion.

It was very much an evening of contrasting styles, Albion's passing game against Colchester's long ball tactics.

The Seagulls created the best two chances of the first-half with Adam El-Abd going close to opening the scoring on 33 minutes with a close-range header at the back post from Elliott Bennett's free-kick which Ben Williams saved superbly.

Williams had to be at his best again six minutes later to deny the rampaging Inigo Calderon who had been played in by Gary Dicker.

Colchester made a double change at half-time and started the second half strongly, putting Albion under concerted pressure early on but Poyet's men weathered the storm and continued to create the better openings.

Glenn Murray failed to make a decent connection with Bennett's free-kick and then Andrew Crofts headed wide from a corner on 56 minutes.

The chances kept coming, Murray stepped over a cross when he should have shot, then Bennett had an opportunity at the back post which he failed to take.

All in all, Poyet will take plenty of positives going into Saturday's home game with another of the play-off contenders, Swindon.

New loan signing Diego Arismendi travelled with the squad but missed out on a possible Albion debut due to a slight knock suffered in training.

Albion: Brezovan; Calderon, El-Abd, Elphick, Painter; Bennett, Navarro, Crofts, Dicker, LuaLua (sub Holroyd 63); Murray. Subs not used: McNulty, Forster, Hart, Carole, Hoyte, Walker.

Colchester: Williams; White, Okuonghae, Heath, Tierney; Prutton, O'Toole (sub Vincent 46), Izzet, Wordsworth; Odejayi (sub Gillespie 80), Platt (sub Lisbie 46). Subs not used: Cousins, Batth, Henderson, Ifil.

Ref: Anthony Bates (Staffordshire).

Don't miss The Argus tomorrow for a full match analysis plus reaction and pictures from the game.