An inspired performance from goalkeeper Mark Cousins prevented Preston from avenging last season's opening-day defeat to Colchester after the two sides shared a 0-0 draw at Deepdale.
John Ward's team won 4-2 at the same ground 12 months ago, however it was North End who could have scored four this time around.
Jeffrey Monakana was twice frustrated by Cousins, while Nicky Wroe and Scott Laird were also denied by the U's stopper as both sides were forced to settle for a point.
Wroe's emphatic free-kick would have given Preston an early lead were it not for the fingertips of Cousins.
However, the hosts were fortunate to keep 11 men on the pitch after Monakana escaped with just yellow for a late challenge on Cousins, with the `keeper responding by stopping the former Arsenal midfielder's driven shot on the stroke of half-time.
Monakana and Cousins resumed their battle after the restart, as the keeper brilliantly turned the latter's curling effort around a post, before saving well from Laird.
Colchester midfielder John-Joe O'Toole wasted a chance to upset the run of play when he shot tamely into Thorsten Stuckmann's hands.
But it was always North End who looked the more likely to score and Cousins was once again called upon to stop David Amoo from bagging a winner late on.