Colchester produce a first class display to knock high flying Bristol City off their perch in a crucial 3-2 win after leading 3-0 at half time after goals from Tom Lapslie, Macauley Bonne and Chris Porter.
The result saw them escape the bottom four for the first time since November, as they came out the other side of a tough set of fixtures the right side of the dotted line.
There's still work to do, but 2015 has started well for the U's and they can enter the final stretch of the season in fine fettle.
The U's welcomed high flying Bristol City to the Community Stadium who are chasing promotion and occupying the top of the table as they looked to put their mid-week loss against MK Dons behind them and get back to winning ways.
Boss Tony Humes was without David Fox and Sammie Szmodics, both injured, with Macauley Bonne and Alex Gilbey coming in to replace the two midfielders.
Colchester got off to a dream start after they were rewarded for their early pressure on three minutes.
The ball was played out wide to Hewitt who whipped in a teasing ball, Porter's aerial presence caused problems as he put Bristol City keeper Frankie Fielding under pressure and the keeper spilled the ball, and Lapslie made no mistake as he headed the ball into the net.
The U's continued to dominate the proceedings and doubled their lead just minutes later as Briggs got to the by-line and put in a perfect cross for Bonne who produced a fine diving header into the bottom right hand corner. A dream start for the home side.
City found themselves with their backs to the wall in the first 20 minutes as Colchester broke with conviction.
Hewitt in particular was very impressive as he was providing the width on the counter attacks and Colchester almost went three up after Hewitt curled in a fizzing cross to the back post but Massey couldn’t get on the end of it as the defence scrambled it clear.
The away side almost got one back after a swift move on the right by Tavernier who crossed a low ball across the box where Elliot looked destined to score but the midfielder hit the side netting.
That miss by Elliot looked to prove costly as minutes later the U's tripled their lead with Hewitt, the creator once again. The winger got in behind Bristol City and found Porter, who brought the ball down and on the half volley, turned and hit an unstoppable drive past a helpless Frankie Fielding into the bottom corner.
Steve Cotterill was forced into making a change on 30 minutes as Ayling made way for Little as he looked to neutralise the threat of Chris Hewitt and go to a flat back four.
The formation change seemed to have no effect as Cotterill's defence remained indecisive when clearing the ball and Porter broke clear of the back four and cut inside to shoot but the defenders got back to clear the danger and Fielding scrambled the ball clear.
The away side had a rare chance as the ball was crossed in by Freeman, but Matt Smith couldn't get enough on his effort and Sam Walker saved at close range as the first half drew to a close.
Bristol City made their second change at half time as they brought on Keiron Agard for Emmauel Thomas upfront.
Six minutes into the second half and the league leaders found a route back into the game and in sensational fashion after Tavernier hit a 40 yard cross-field pass which Sam Walker mis-judged and the ball sailed over the keeper and into the bottom left hand corner to cut the score line back to 3-1.
Just minutes after the goal, Massey broke clear but Frankie Fielding got to the ball first to clear it out for a throw. Seconds later, and Bristol City broke clear again and the ball was played in by Freeman and Elliot managed to get his head on the ball but Sam Walker saved well down to his left to keep the effort out.
On 61 minutes, City were back in the contest after a set piece was taken quickly by Fielding and angled in perfectly from the right by Korey Smith which in return Flint rose the highest to as he placed a great header into the bottom right hand corner.
The away side continued to pile on the pressure as the U's held on.
Tony Humes made a change 20 minutes from the end, Hewitt made way for George Moncur as the manager looked to try and close the gaps in midfield and regain the dominance shown in the first half by his side.
City almost got an equaliser 15 minutes from time as Wibraham was played through but Clohessy managed to produce a fine sliding tackle to block his effort and keep his side in the lead.
Cotterill’s team continued to dominate as the U’s held on and the home side had a rare second half chance when Porter found some space on the edge of the box but he blasted the ball out of play.
Goal scorer Lapslie made way in extra time after he injured himself in a huge tackle, importantly for the U's, and Marriott came on for the midfielder as the U’s saw the game out and kept their survival hopes very much alive after an emphatic - and nervy win - over Bristol City.