Colchester United have tonight parted company with their head coach Steve Ball after a miserable run of form.

Ball has left his position after the U's 2-1 defeat against Exeter City tonight, which extended their winless run to 13 matches in League Two.

Colchester are just nine points above the relegation zone and U's chairman Robbie Cowling has issued a statement confirming Ball's departure.

He 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.

"The club will make no further comment at this time."

Ball took over as Colchester boss last July after taking over from John McGreal, whom he had worked alongside as assistant manager.

He also played for the club in two spells, as well as taking on various coaching roles.

Ball, who made 79 appearances across two spells at Colchester between 1989 and 1996, had previously managed the likes of FC Clacton, Leiston and Maldon and Tiptree.

He got off to a solid start as U's boss, guiding his side to a five-match unbeaten run at the start of the League Two season.

Indeed, as recently as December, they were residing in the play-off places.

But since then the U's have gone on a miserable run which has seen them fail to win any of their last 13 league matches.

And following the 2-1 home defeat against Exeter, U's supremo Cowling has decided to take action.

Assistant manager Hayden Mullins is likely to be placed in caretaker charge for the U's trip to play Forest Green Rovers, on Saturday.