The U's ended 2014 with a dominant performance against Crawley - but just the solitary point to show for a positive display.
There were four strikes of the woodwork during the course of the afternoon and a second disallowed goal for Sammie Szmodics in consecutive games as the U's did everything but score.
The U's remain in touch with the teams above them after the Christmas period and they now need to convert the improved performances into three points to ensure they climb clear of the bottom four.
The U’s made one change for the match at the Checkatrade.com Stadium, with Sammie Szmodics earning a starting place with his second half display against Gillingham in place of Craig Eastmond.
Chances were at a premium in the first ten minutes. Miller fired well over for the home team early on, before Szmodics’ goalbound run on nine was well stopped by a fine tackle from Young.
The U’s went close on the tenth minute, as they made the most of confusion in the Crawley ranks, with Sears setting up Moncur, who rolled a low shot against the base of the post with Jensen beaten.
They had another chance on the quarter hour mark as Hewitt drilled in a low cross into the middle. Sears opted to take a touch with the opportunity to shoot first time and, caught between the two decisions, he lost the ball twelve yards out.
Next, the U’s won a free kick after good work by Szmodics. Fox drilled it to the edge of the box and it found Massey, whose low effort skimmed the outside of the side netting.
Crawley were happy to hit the U’s on the counter attack and they had a chance midway through the half. It was played into McLeod in a central position, but Clohessy did well to block.
Then Edwards found the ball coming into his path from a half cleared free kick, but he pulled his effort wide of Walker’s far post.
The U’s had the ball in the back of the net on 32 minutes, but again fell foul of the linesman’s flag for the third time in two halves of football. Gordon’s pass to Sears saw the U’s topscorer hit the woodwork and Szmodics was flagged offside as he nodded home.
The half finished with another Colchester chance as Fox took it on from distance, but it was a comfortable collect for Jensen.
With it scoreless at the break, Crawley introduced Tomlin for Harrold to change things around up front.
They were the first to get a sight of goal after the interval as Gorkss gave away a foul on the edge of the box. Henderson stepped up to take it but curled his effort well over.
But the U’s were always dangerous going forward and they swept forward, with Szmodics set up Sears, who forced a fine save out of Jensen with a fierce half volley.
And the U’s topscorer hit the post again on 54 minutes. He worked space in a central position and curled in a low shot that beat Jensen but pinged off the base of the woodwork.
It actually sparked off the home team’s best spell of pressure, with Smith having an effort blocked by Eastman on 69 minutes.
The U’s made their first change five minutes later, as Watt replaced Hewitt for the last quarter of an hour of the game.
They had to make their second not long afterwards as Gordon limped off, to be replaced by Kpekawa.
And the U’s struck the post for an unbelievable fourth time at the death. A corner was won in the air by Kpekawa and it came back off the woodwork to the despair of the watching support.
The U's were left frustrated but will try to take the positives as they look to build on four points in the last three games and three clean sheets in five.