WHILE it proved a testing encounter for Witham Town's defence, Colchester United loanee Luke Ige relished the examination that they were given in their BetVictor Isthmian League division north encounter at the Kings Marsh Stadium.

Having been led 3-1 heading into the final 20 minutes after two Marcus Bowers goals and one from Scott Kemp put them in the driving seat, Witham had to fight a rearguard action in the latter stages as Sudbury threw everything they had at them.

It resulted in two late goals for the hosts and a 3-3 draw, but while he was disappointed not to hold on to all three points, Ige felt it was an experience that would benefit his development as a player.

The 19-year-old defender, who joined Colchester United from Premier League side Aston Villa last summer, is on an initial one-month loan deal at Witham and is enjoying the experience of senior football away from the usual under-23s action that he has been used to.

He said: “It’s football that isn't as focused on technical things like passing the ball and you’re having to be more alert to things like second balls and gambling on things to make sure you make it.

“It’s a different type of game to under-23 football and I’m picking up a lot of discipline being exposed to it.

“It’s also an experience thing as I’m coming up against older players and that’s great.

“Witham is a great club to come to to get that experience for me.

“There’s a great energy around the club and in that changing room and there’s a great team spirit.

“It was a tough game at Sudbury but we stuck at it.

“I know we’d been 3-1 up but they tested us at the end and the boys did really well.

“I think you have to credit Sudbury for the way they stuck at it and threw everything at us, but also to us because we were not going to lose that game.

“I thought we were really good.

“It was a tough examination but we saw it through.

“This is exactly the type of game that I’m here to experience.

“It’s more direct than what I’ve been used to and it’s just what you need as a young player.

“Colchester have said to get the experience so I can go back there and push on."

Witham manager Marc Benterman has been impressed with the Colchester youngster and has said he would welcome the chance to extend Ige's loan deal beyond the initial one month if the U's were willing to do that.

Ige is enjoying his time at the Simarco Stadium, but said he would leave it to the two clubs to discuss any extension.

“It’s up to Colchester to make any call on how it progresses," he added.

“They’ll see if I’m doing as well as I feel I am.

“If it comes to extending my time then I don’t see why not as I’m enjoying it here.

“The coaches at Colchester have said to just keep working and I’ll get my chance."