Brentford returned from Layer Road with a draw - thanks to a Tony Rougier strike and gritty defending to keep The U's at bay.
Wally Downes kept the same starting eleven from the win at Chesterfield and selected teenage striker Matt Harrold for his first appearance on the subs bench.
After three minutes, smart play by Craig Fagan was nearly rewarded as Wayne Andrews delivered a dangerous cross from the right-hand side that Scott McGleish just failed to connect. The early part of the half was largely dominated by Colchester, as shots by Craig Fagan and a header by Kem Izzet gave The U's the upper hand.
However, The Bees' came close to taking the lead in the 21st minute, Rougier going on one his traditional mazy runs but his shot was blocked. Craig Fagan tested Paul Smith from twenty-five yards, but it was Brentford's turn to force and opening just past the half-hour mark; Stephen Hunt crossed for Ben May, but Liam Chilvers intercepted before the Millwall loanee could get in a shot.
Brentford took the lead with a very fortuitous goal in the thirty-fifth minute. Carl Duguid's left-wing clearance cannoned off Bees' attacker Tony Rougier - the ball flying over an out-of-position Colchester goalkeeper Simon Brown and into the home net. Colchester replied immediately, but Rowan Vine's shot was well claimed by Paul Smith.
Four minutes from half-time, Kevin O'Connor
was booked for a foul on Kemal Izzet. The Bees lead at the break was preserved; only thanks to timely clearances by Michael Dobson and a punch by Paul Smith.
Two minutes after the re-start, Paul Smith had to be on his best to deny Rowan Vine; his twenty-yard shot palmed round the post by Paul Smith. Tony Rougier - by far the best Bees' player on the night - delivered a great cross for Wright in the 57th minute but his header looped over the bar. Colchester's speedy attack caused Brentford problems all evening, and they should have levelled things up on the hour-mark.
Wayne Andrews shrugged off the challenge of Ibrahima Sonko to put in a right-footed shot that hit the base of the post, rebounding to Rowan Vine, whose shot was beaten away by Smith to safety.
Colchester gained a deserved equaliser fifteen minutes from time. The Bees failed to clear a corner, Rowan Vine firing in a shot from the edge of the box that sailed through a sea of bodies and into the Brentford net. Play flowed from end to end, Eddie Hutchinson's twenty-yard shot fizzed past Simon Brown moments after Paul Smith superbly saved Karl Duguid's free-kick - awarded for a foul by Tony Rougier.
Tommy Wright thought he had won the day in the dying seconds but his effort was ruled out for pushing Scott Fitzgerald.