On a wet and dreary afternoon at the Weston Homes Community Stadium, Coventry City continued their strong start to the season to inflict a rare home defeat on the U's.
The home side took the lead as Macauley Bonne scored his hot scoring streak, but the Sky Blues showed why they're among the promotion contenders with a resolute display.
Whilst they didn't cause the U's too many problems in attack, they were organised and determined enough to seal a victory that keeps them in the key pace setters as the Christmas period approaches.
Coventry were quick to start and would have been ahead after just three minutes if it wasn't for an excellent sliding tackle from Tom Eastman to deny Ruben Lameiras from scoring.
They had another half chance not long afterwards, but Jim O'Brien could only hit the side netting from the angle and Colchester made them pay.
It was 17 minutes in when Joe Edwards ventured across the pitch from right back and found Callum Harriott on the left, he then delivered an inch perfect for in-form Macauley Bonne to deftly flick the ball in to make it 1-0 to the U's.
This seemed to spark the U's into life and they could have added to this lead, but both luck and Coventry keeper Reice Charles-Cook kept it to one.
Firstly, George Moncur had a free kick from 25 yards out that skipped out at the Coventry stopper as he made the save and the ball was cleared.
Moments later, an excellent counter involving Marvin Sordell, Moncur and Harriott but Harriott's chipped cross just failed to pick anyone out.
Colchester's luck was out once again in the next attack as Moncur picked out Sordell in the box, but his shot hit the inside of the post and rolled agonisingly across goal and out of play for a goal kick.
Coventry made them pay for the missed chnaces on 32 minutes when ex-Colchester loanee Murphy pulled the scoreline level.
Marc Antoine Fortune delivered a cross from the left and Eastman appeared to have cut it out brilliantly, but it fell to Murphy to slot the ball home.
Coventry completed the turnaround on the 40 minute mark as Murphy got his second of the game.
A lapse in concentration at the back for the U's allowed Murphy to get on the end of a quick free kick, and although the home crowd appealed for offside, he rounded the goalkeeper and slot into the empty net.
The second half began how the first half ended as Coventry added to their lead to make it 3-1.
The conditions certainly played a part as a shot from Lameiras from the right skipped up at Jamie Jones and the rebound fell to Antoine fortune to tap the ball into the empty net.
The third goal put Coventry firmly in control and the U's struggle to find their attacking way again until the dying stages of the match.
Matthew Briggs had a left footed shot that went over, before Sordell picked the ball up from deep and drove at the Coventry defence.
He placed a shot towards the bottom left corner, but it was saved smartly by Charles-Cook and he then produced a very good save from sub Gavin Massey on the rebound.
Coventry sub Ryan Haynes could have made it four just after but this would have been harsh on the U's on what proved to be a frustrating day for Tony Humes' side.
The U's now travel to the Den for the next game as they face Millwall.