Colchester started December with a heavy home defeat to bottom of the league Notts County who continued their revival under Shaun Derry, as they picked up their first away win of the season and their fourth consecutive league win over the U’s.
Notts took the lead through loanee Jack Grealish who scored his second in as many games on the half hour mark before Morgan Fox doubled their lead just before the half time break.
Colchester never gave up but ultimately lost the midfield battle and never looked like scoring, with five minutes to go Notts doubled their lead with two goals through McGregor and Liddle.
Notts County kicked off the game and were straight on the attack through Jamal Campbell-Ryce who beat Luke Garbutt but over hit his cross.
At the other end in form Macauley Bonne raced towards the box with the ball with the crowd begging for a shot but he opted for a pass which didn’t reach Clinton Morrison.
U’s continued to pile on pressure and came close when after some good work from Ryan Dickson and Jabo Ibehre led to a chance for Morrison but his shot was well saved by Bartosz Bialkowski.
Ben Tozer’s long throws were causing problems in the box and almost created for Garbutt whose header again forced Bialkowski into a save.
Ibehre worked hard to create a chance just before the 20 minute mark when took the ball down and got the extra yard on his defender before floating in a cross which Dickson couldn’t quite connect to.
After Colchester failed to make any of the early chances into a goal Notts County stepped their game up and threatened to go ahead.
First some loose play from Eastmond gifted the ball to Andre Boucaud but the attack fizzled out with a shot well over the bar.
Notts County looked dangerous on the right through Campbell-Ryce who was getting far too much time on the ball.
Then on the half-hour mark Campbell-Ryce picked out Aston Villa loanee Jack Grealish who had time to turn in the box and steady himself before burying his shot in the corner to give Notts the lead.
Colchester looked to respond instantly but Jabo Ibehre could only place his shot wide after a third attempt of connecting with the ball following Ryan Dickson’s long throw.
As the half edged towards an end with U’s one-down, Notts got a second. Callum Ball found Morgan Fox in the box who had enough space to slot the ball past Sam Walker.
U’s kicked off the second half with West Ham loanee Blair Turgott replacing Ryan Dickson in wide midfield.
With just one minute gone referee Hooper had a big decision to make after Alan Sheehan went in hard on Morrison, after a lecture the defender saw yellow.
From the resulting free kick Morrison came painfully close to pulling a goal back but his shot soared over the bar.
Macauley Bonne had a great chance for a second goal in as many home games when the ball fell to him following a corner. His low shot glanced across the face of goal but was blocked a scrap of players in the box.
Just after the hour mark Ben Tozer made way for attacking full back Tosin Olufemi who slotted in behind Turgott on the right.
The game heated up after some rash challenges from Craig Eastmond and Callum McGregor who both saw yellow. Tom Eastman stepped to take a 40 yard free kick but his effort ended up well over the cross bar and into the South Stand.
U’s made their final substitution with Andy Bond replacing the cautioned Eastmond with 20 minutes remaining.
Young Jack Grealish almost grabbed his second of the game when he weaved past Olufemi in the box and from a tight angle rattled his shot against the far post.
With five minutes to play Notts got a third through Callum McGregor before embarrassing U’s with a fourth when Grealish fed Gary Liddle through to take the ball past Walker and score into an open net.
Some last ditch defending and a good save from Walker rescued Colchester from going even further behind but it was no consolation for a bitterly disappointing result.