Sears at the double for U's
Freddie Sears scored twice as Colchester eased their relegation worries with a 3-2 victory away to bottom side Stevenage, who are now in serious danger of losing their League One status.
Sears' double, either side of a goal from Jabo Ibehre, came after Michael Doughty's early opener for basement boys Boro.
Luke Freeman reduced the deficit but it was too little, too late from the hosts, who had substitute Filipe Morais sent off in the final few seconds for shoving the ball at Alex Wynter.
Stevenage drew first blood after Francois Zoko won a 50-50 challenge with Marcus Bean. Doughty latched on to the ball, pushed it past David Wright and then placed his shot beyond onrushing goalkeeper Sam Walker after 11 minutes.
However, Sears fired the visitors level in first-half stoppage time with a half-volley from just inside the area which flew into the top right-hand corner of the net.
And five minutes into the second half it was 2-1 to Colchester when Sears' cross from near the corner flag deflected off the near post and Ibehre poked home the ball from close range.
Sears then added another with a low shot into the bottom corner of the net with 17 minutes to go before Stevenage ensured a nervous last few minutes after Freeman's free-kick took a slight deflection and left goalkeeper Sam Walker wrong-footed.