Frustrated Forest Green Rovers boss Mark Cooper faces losing Ebou Adams for four games after the midfielder was sent off for the second time in five games.
A first-half double from Jamille Matt and a Brendan Sarpong-Wiredu own goal wrapped up the points the home side but it was the sending off just before half-time following a challenge on Josh Doherty that had the manager fuming.
Cooper said: “I’ve had the benefit of seeing it in slow motion and Ebou makes a silly challenge. With his experience, with 20 seconds to go to half-time and being 2-0 up you do not need to make the tackle.
“He actually tackles with one foot and his foot is planted firmly on the floor. I can see why the referee has panicked and sent him off and he is now ruled out for four games because it is his second sending off.
“I think it was important we didn’t panic after the Southend game. We trusted the players and knew we would get a response and they were magnificent, all of them. Fair play as they answered a few questions – not from me but from other people.
“I said to them before the game that when we lose one we don’t lose the next and bounce back. The defeat the other night wasn’t the most important thing, it was how we reacted.
“I thought the players were sensational with some unbelievable performances. Kane Wilson, coming back in after a terrible time, looked the player we signed. He was out of this world. There were exceptional performances all over the pitch.”
After a period of pressure, Matt opened the scoring after 26 minutes when he headed in an Aaron Collins cross.
The striker doubled the lead six minutes later with a thumping drive after his initial effort from a corner had been cleared off the line, with Sarpong-Wiredu then turning a Collins free-kick into his own net in the 67th minute as 10-man Rovers wrapped up the points.
Colchester’s caretaker boss Wayne Brown said: “When you lose any game of football it’s always disappointing and the lads are low at the moment, but there were a few positives and the negatives we’ll take a look at.
“There has to be a bit of realism as they are one of the teams in the division and their quality shone through. It’s important we remain positive because we have a game on Tuesday against Carlisle that is winnable. It’s a young group and so we’ll go again then.
“We need the high standards I’m demanding in training and then transfer it onto the pitch in games.
“It’s important we don’t dwell on it, we remain positive and don’t become disillusioned.”