Ben Garner felt his Colchester side could have scored even more after they beat Notts County 5-4 in a scintillating League Two clash.
The U’s never trailed in the nine-goal thriller but had a nervy end to the game after Cameron McGeehan’s dismissal and Macaulay Langstaff’s stoppage-time strike.
But they held on to record a first win in three games and earn the praise of their head coach.
“I’m so proud of the players,” Garner said.
“We were disappointed in the last two games to take one point, given the level of performances.
“The way that the players have trained this week and applied themselves and the performance that they have put in was tremendous and they deserve massive credit for it.
“We scored five and I thought we should have had more, especially in the first half.
“They’re a really good side. They’re really disciplined in their shape and the way they move the ball.
“I thought it was an outstanding game, for League Two level.
“In the first half in particular, we moved the ball really well and were such a threat and created opportunities.
“At 5-3, I was really comfortable and I felt we dealt with their shape but then we had the red card, which made it a more difficult ending than it needed to be.”
Colchester took a 10th-minute lead through Noah Chilvers but Sam Austin equalised for Notts County.
Jayden Fevrier’s deflected strike and an outstanding free-kick from Arthur Read put the U’s 3-1 ahead at the break.
Notts County fought back with Langstaff and then Jodi Jones making it a one-goal game but on each occasion Colchester quickly replied through McGeehan and Read.
McGeehan was dismissed for a second caution in the 79th minute and Langstaff nodded in Jones’ cross in stoppage time to set up a tense finish, but Colchester held on.
Notts County manager Luke Williams said: “The opposition were fantastic, a brilliant team.
“We didn’t deal well enough with the two strikers in the first half.
“But the game is very difficult because we gave a goal away from a lack of concentration.
“Because of this, we find it more difficult to build up because, understandably I think, the confidence is not the same when you make a mistake like that.
“The game is different after that but they just caused us no end of trouble.
“I think we cause them a lot of problems as well but it’s OK going toe to toe with a team but if you give them a goal start, it’s a different feeling from the sideline.
“When we thought we’d got ourselves back into the game we conceded more goals and it’s very, very difficult.
“I like the spirit we had but to concede so many goals is really worrying.”