Colchester ended a run of five successive league defeats with a 2-1 home win over fellow strugglers Salford.
Salford goalkeeper Alex Cairns denied Cameron McGeehan in the third minute, while at the other end Ryan Watson’s first-time effort as straight at Owen Goodman.
Cairns then foiled Colchester midfielder Arthur Read at his near post before Goodman did well to deny Salford’s Conor McAleny after he had exchanged passes with Kelly N’Mai and raced through on goal.
Colchester’s top-scorer Joe Taylor broke the deadlock in the 42nd minute when his scuffed shot from close range beat Cairns after McGeehan had helped on Mandela Egbo’s delivery into his path.
Cairns denied McGeehan and Jayden Fevrier before substitute Chay Cooper doubled Colchester’s lead in the 89th minute when he latched on to John Akinde’s pass and slotted past Cairns.
McAleny gave Salford hope with a superb strike from the edge of the area in the first minute of stoppage time, but Colchester held on for a vital victory.