One goal separated the two sides on a drizzly Saturday afternoon at the Weston Homes Community Stadium, with Coventry taking the spoils.
After a chess-like first half, the U's started the second half the brighter but were unable to capitalise on that early pressure after the interval.
As the second half wore on, it was the visitors who gained a stranglehold on the game and found the sole path to goal to earn the three points.
The U's slipped into the bottom four on the back of this defeat and will want to start to collect results sooner rather than later.
The first real chance of the game was started by the Sky Blues’ keeper, Ryan Allsop, as he drop kicked the ball into the path of Frank Nouble on the edge of Sam Walker’s box.
The U’s shot-stopper was quick off his line, but as Nouble reached the ball Walker had to stop in his tracks and make himself big to block the shot, an early let of for U’s leaving the striker disappointed.
Colchester debutant Cole Kpekawa made an impressive start to the game in the left full back position, beating his opposing defender to swing in a cross which was just behind Sanchez Watt.
U’s midweek signing George Moncur, who made the switch from loan move to permanent signing, got Colchester started on goal when his shot from just outside of the box whisked just over the bar.
Ipswich loanee Nouble was the focal point in attack for City and it took a Magnus Okounghae block to clear the danger as the striker put a dangerous ball across goal, cutting in from the right.
Coventry were resolute and well organized in defence, not allowing Colchester a sight of goal early on and limiting in form Freddie Sears to long shots which weren’t troubling Allsop.
As Watt moved out wide later in the half U’s started to have more attacking impetus, and it was his free kick taken from the right of goal that forced Allsop into a really decent save just under his bar.
The half drew to a close with both teams equally frustrated, U’s were yet to really get going and Coventry had failed to capitalize on a number of first half chances.
Colchester signalled their intentions to lift their performance in the second half, first through Kpekawa and then Gavin Massey as both players fired shots just over the bar.
However U’s newfound pressure was match by Coventry who attack in force with Gary Madine very much at the centre of things.
The forward had his goal bound shot cleared away by Sean Clohessy, then the resulting corner saw Madine get the ball down at the far post for Reda Johnson, but he failed to convert from close range.
Tony Humes made the first change of the game, bringing Rhys Healey on for Watt. But it was Madine who again was the goal threat, this time it took a brave block from Okuonghae to deny him the goal.
With U’s starting to build some momentum and 15 minutes left on the clock, two further attacking substitutes were made with Sammie Szmodics and Kemar Roofe replacing David Fox and Massey.
But the changes couldn’t help Colchester at the back, as Madine finally got his name on the scoresheet just a minute later, tapping the ball in as Walker parried Swanson’s shot across goal.
And just minutes later Madine almost made it two he tried to convert Haynes’ cross, U’s had bodies diving all in front of the goal line and somehow Clohessy got the ball away.
The U’s luck went from bad to worse, as late in the game Okuonghae had to leave the pitch, with Tony Humes having already made all of his permitted substitutions.
Coventry were quick to capitalize and Haynes really should’ve doubled the lead as he picked up the ball unmarked in the box, his shot was saved brilliantly by Walker to keep U’s in the game.
Despite Colchester’s last ditch efforts in the four minutes of injury time they couldn’t find the equaliser on a goal shy day, leaving Coventry to run winners by a single goal.