The U's were undone in the second half by two quick fire Crewe goals as the visitors took all three points in the final game of 2013.
Luke Garbutt had put Colchester ahead from a direct free kick which had matched an impressive first half performance.
However, Crewe came out in the second half fighting and two goals in the space of three minutes were enough finish U’s hopes of the third consecutive win.
Colchester started the game confidently keeping with the same team that won the previous two games including the Boxing Day game just three days before.
The in form Jabo Ibehre was looking for his third goal in as many games and had U’s first chance of the game when he turned inside the box to volley but hit will over the bar.
Ibehre was again involved when he took the ball down to set up Craig Eastmond who charged at the Crewe defence before setting up Marcus Bean for a shot which was well blocked inside the box.
U’s continued to pile on the pressure and following a corner Luke Garbutt collected the cleared ball before curling a shot towards goal, Ibehre looked to latch onto it but headed high over.
Crewe did muster a few chances through Tom Hitchcock and George Evans with the latter having a header blocked just in front of goal following a corner set piece.
Then just before the half hour mark U’s got their breakthrough; Luke Garbutt won a free kick just outside of the box and stepped up to take it. His shot was on target but deflected and the wrong footed the goalkeeper who couldn’t react quick enough to make a save.
Soon after some great individual work from Blair Turgott nearly got Colchester a second but Ben Garratt made a good save at his near post.
Crewe stepped up their play after the goal and created their best chance of the half when after some great passing Chucks Aneke fed the ball to Bradden Inman but he could only force Sam Walker into conceding a corner.
The U’s had the last decent chance of the game from a corner when Magnus Okuonghae headed down towards goal but Matt Tootle was there to clear the ball just in front of the far post.
Colchester came out in the second half looking to double their lead and came close when Ibehre left the goalkeeper grounded, but he couldn’t get his shot away in time to take advantage.
Twelve minutes into the half Colchester nearly gifted Crewe a goal when Okuonghae and Walker got their passing mixed up leaving Hitchcock to slide the ball in and the far post but captain Brian Wilson was on hand to block the shot.
Crewe continued to fight their way back into the game and defender Harry Davis came close with a free kick which Walker was equal to.
Colchester looked to get themselves back on the front foot and brought on Sanchez Watt and Clinton Morrison who replaced Dominic Vose and Ibehre.
Just minutes later the Crewe players surrounded the referee calling for Wilson to be sent off for a challenge on Hitchcock who was in on goal but Tom Eastman’s presence was enough stop Wilson being the last man and only see yellow.
Crewe’s second half revival finally got them an equalising goal when Arsenal loanee Aneke shot past Walker inside the box following the U's being unable to find a way to clear Inman’s low cross.
Just three minutes later Crewe got a second, this time from a corner. Walker was caught underneath the cross and Hitchcock was there to head in and score his third goal in four games.
Blair Turgott provided some hope for U’s but after a good run from out wide he stretched to shoot and Garratt saved with ease.
A brilliant save again from Garratt then denied Watt whose header came so close to bringing Colchester level.
The U’s threw everything at Crewe in the six minutes of injury time but couldn’t find an equalising goal. The loss ends U’s two-game winning streak and sees them drop down to 14th.