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The U's recent woes continued at Hartlepool on Saturday, as the home side left Aidy Boothroyd's men with a big mountain to climb if they are to make the play-offs this season.
The Pools came from behind to record a 3-1 win for their seventh win in nine over the U's at Victoria Park and a sixth successive away reverse for Colchester.
It means just one win in their last eleven games for the U's and, with only nine points to play for, Colchester know that they will have to win all three of their remaining games to have any chance of making the top six.
The U's made two changes to the starting eleven&nbsp;for the game&nbsp;in the north east.
John-Joe O'Toole's injury gave a starting place to Ian Henderson, whilst Clive Platt returned to the side in place of Steven Gillespie.
There was also a place on the bench for Simon Hackney following his recall from Morecambe earlier in the week.
In a scrappy start to the game, neither side really got a hold of the match and there was little to report in the opening five minutes.
The home side grew into the game, but it was the U's who had the first chance of note on six minutes.
The ball was not cleared by the Pools defence and Lisbie laid it into Platt, who on the turn shot into the feet of the defender.
A minute later and the U's built again and after Henderson's cross was returned into the danger area, the winger didn't connect with his acrobatic effort at the far post.
However, the winger did score after eight minutes.
A mistake at the back allowed Prutton to send Platt away to break towards goal and as Flinders came out to meet him, he squared to Henderson.
He kept his head and, with a defender heading back towards goal, the winger made no mistake to get his second goal for the U's.
However, the lead was not to last too long. Tierney was caught out of position at the back and the home side got away down the right.
Batth couldn't block the cross and McSweeney sent over a peach of a cross for Brown to bury the ball past Williams with a fine header.
The U's almost restored their advantage immediately. Tierney turned provider this time and sent over a cross that Platt knocked down.
Henderson was the man on the prowl once again and his low effort was well saved by the foot of Flinders to turn it away from danger.
The two teams were trading chances and McSweeney again turned provider to send over a dangerous ball that Okuonghae cleared well at the near post.
And, in what was an open start to the game, they found themselves losing midway through the half.
The U's had conceded space in midfield and it allowed the ball to be dropped into the feet of O'Donovan in the box.
He turned sharply on Batth and snuck a low finish beyond Williams and into the back of the net to put the U's behind.
The U's took a while to find their feet after falling 2-1 behind, and it wasn't until ten minutes before the break that they went close again.
Prutton burst forwards from midfield and, with players either side of him, decided to unleash a shot that Flinders got his body behind to collect comfortably.
An Austin free kick just before the break was deflected behind for a corner and Collins got to the corner first, but Williams collected well.
The U's went close in injury time in the first half, as Henderson's shot was deflected up in the air and away for a throw.
The U's trailed at half time though, and had it all to do in the second half as they looked to keep their season alive.
They started the second half brightly though, keeping the home side penned back into their own area.
Izzet stepped onto a loose ball on the edge of the box to nod a header wide of goal and it was not too far away from Flinders' near post.
The U's then hit the post five minutes after the restart.
Persistence and power saw Okuonghae win the ball wide and pass out wide to Vincent. His low cross was met by a stooping header by Lisbie. It cannoned off the upright and away to safety.
At the other end, the dangerous McSweeney sent over a superb cross that Monkhouse bust a gut to get to at the far post, but was put off by the tracking run of White as it went behind for a goal kick.
The U's had yet to get their equaliser, but had had much the better of it after the restart.
And they made a change as they introduced Simon Hackney for Vincent for the last half hour of the game.
The wide man had a part to play as they retained possession around the edge of the box. Prutton's darting run saw him lay the ball off to Platt and Lisbie's eventual flick went wide of goal.
Brown had a shot deflected wide at the far post before Tierney's probing ball was agonisingly just inches past the darting run of Lisbie into the box.
With fifteen minutes to go, Prutton mishit a shot that spun back for Lisbie and his brave header was blocked by the big presence of Flinders.
And, with time running out, the U's brought on Gillespie for John White, knowing that they needed two goals in that final ten minutes.
But the U's hopes were extinguished as they conceded a penalty with seven minutes to go. Hackney fouled McSweeney in the box and O'Donovan scored the spot kick to make it 3-1.
The final moments of the game petered out without too many incidents, although Lisbie did force a good save out of Flinders at the near post in injury time.
U's: Williams, White (Gillespie), Tierney, Okuonghae, Batth, Vincent (Hackney), Izzet, Prutton, Henderson, Lisbie, Platt
Subs: Cousins, Queudrue, Heath, Ifil, Fox
Att: 3,126 (away 108)