Carlisle United suffered a disappointing home defeat as they conceded sloppy goals to allow Colchester United to take control of a game where the lion's share of the possession, certainly through the early stages, belonged to the home side.
Colchester looked confident as they attacked from the kick off and Garbutt overlapped to deliver a deep cross. Wilson recovered it and Ehmer had to step in as his clipped pass fell just in front of Morrison.
United responded with a piece of individual skill from Lawrence as he picked the ball up on the edge of the area. He twisted and turned and beat three defenders before his driven effort forced a near post save from Walker.
Potts and Amoo saw plenty of the ball and they had the back line stretched as they exchanged passes on the right flank. The Cumbrians stayed on top and strong hold up play from Miller left Buaben with space to exploit. He dropped a shoulder but his powerful effort was always heading for the keeper's hands.
Meppen-Walter was next to try his luck when he held his run for a Berrett corner. He rose high to meet it but his header lacked direction. Prince Buaben was first to the goal kick and he released Amoo as blue shirts flooded forward. The cross was good but behind the advancing attackers.
Colchester grabbed the lead with their first meaningful attack of the day when Marcus Bean was left unmarked just inside the Carlisle half. He spotted Watt on the run and the big striker did well to beat two before clamly stroking the ball past Fleming and into the bottom corner.
The United was response was immediate as James Berrett sent a deep free kick into the danger area. Magnus Okhuonghae stuck a boot out to try to hook it clear and it spun off the top of his foot and bobbled its way into the back of the net.
Carlisle continued to look the more likely and Amoo received a round of applause when he cut in from the right to go into the box. Wright stepped across to make the block and Eastmond completed the clearance.
The U's enjoyed a decent spell as Wright and Wilson picked crosses from left and right but a slick break from deep from United left Lawrence with just one man to beat. He didn't disappoint but Walker adjusted well to pick the deflected shot out of the sky.
Carlisle pushed further up the pitch as the first half wore on and Chimbonda provided the extra man for an incisive attack. His cross had Miller interested until Vose stepped in to head it away.
Sam Walker was in good form for another excellent set piece from Berrett as Amoo connected with a thundering header from just 10 yards. A fingertip touch was just about enough to send the ball over the bar.
An outswinging long range free kick from Luke Garbutt went close as Fleming watched it all the way but Colchester struck once again on the stroke of half time when Morrison was left to make a run inside the area. His touch left it on a plate for Sanchez Watt and he scored his second of the afternoon when he danced round Fleming to push the ball into the empty net.
The U's kept things tight at the start of the second half and Brad Potts summed the frustration up when he got onto the end of half clearance from a Berrett corner. He went for the volley and miscued it into the stands.
And it was frustration all round at the end of the next attack when Amoo took the ball to the byline. His cut back was perfect for Berrett but the midfielder took his eye off the ball and screwed a weak shot at the corner flag.
David Amoo took matters into his own hands as Carlisle came forward again and the unsighted Sam Walker reacted late to tip the stinging rasper over the bar. Matt Robson then strode forward on the overlap but his shot from the left hand corner of the 18-yard box angled just wide of the upright.
It was heart in the mouth time on 65 minutes when Morrison and Fleming went one-on-one for a loose ball. The striker hit the floor as the ball broke free but the referee turned away with calls for a penalty ringing in his ears.
But the reprieve was brief as the U's took advantage of slack defending for a Garbutt free kick. Marcus Bean was left alone to nod the ball into the net at the back post as the dogged visitors established a two-goal cushion.
And salt was rubbed into the wounds with 15 minutes left to play when Watt showed skill to open a gap. His shot hit Ehmer and Fleming was left with no chance as it deflected wickedly into the bottom corner.
Tom Lawrence pinged a 35 yard free kick wide of the mark as United tried to lift spirits and David Amoo brought a save from from Walker as he spun to shoot through a gaggle of bodies, but it was left to Max Ehmer to grab a late strike on the rebound to restore some balance to the scoreline when he reacted first to get to a spill from another good Tom Lawrence free kick.
United - Okuonghae (18 og), Ehmer (90)
Colchester - Watt (16, 45+2), Bean (68), Ehmer (73 og)
United - Ehmer (34), Meppen-Walter (42), Chimbonda (60)
Colchester - Vose (65), Bean (90)
Carlisle United - Fleming, Chimbonda, Ehmer, Meppen-Walter, Robson, Buaben, Potts (Drennan 73), Berrett, Amoo, Lawrence, Miller. Subs - Brass, Noble, Symington, Brough, Guy, Dempsey.
Colchester United - Walker, Wright (Gilbey 46), Okuonghae, Eastmond, Watt (Dickson 83), Morrison (Ibehre 70), Bean, Eastman, Wilson, Vose, Garbutt. Subs - Cousins, Sears, Olufemi, Bonne.
Referee - Mr Christopher Sarginson
Attendance - 3,688 (125 away fans)