COLCHESTER United produced a scintillating second-half performance to secure a precious 3-2 victory at Stevenage.
Freddie Sears scored twice, either side of one from Jabo Ibehre, after Michael Doughty’s early opener for basement boys Stevenage.
Luke Freeman pulled one back but it was too little, too late from the hosts, who had Filipe Morais sent off in the last 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.
Sears fired the visitors level in stoppage time at the end of the first half.
Gavin Massey’s cross was met with a poor defensive header and Sears’ half-volley from just inside the area flew into the top right-hand corner, past the diving Chris Day.
And five minutes into the second half it was 2-1 to Colchester.
Day flapped at Sears’ delivery from near the corner flag, the ball somehow deflected off the near post and Ibehre poked home from close range.
Colchester’s third again came from Sears.
Ibehre squared the ball to him and his low, right-footed effort went through a defender’s legs before settling in the bottom left-hand corner.
Stevenage ensured a nervous last few minutes after Luke Freeman’s free-kick took a slight deflection and left Walker wrong-footed.