Colchester came from behind to clinch a place in the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup for only the second time with a 3-1 win at League Two rivals Crawley.
The Essex side deservedly came out on top in an entertaining clash which saw John McGreal`s men triumph before 1,700 travelling fans in a full house of 5,612.
Crawley head coach Gabriele Cioffi, who said he felt like changing 18 players and probably the manager after Saturday`s 4-0 hiding at home to Swindon, made four changes.
The Reds started on the front foot and the recalled Tarryn Allarakhia drew and early save from Dean Gerken following a swift break involving the veteran Dannie Bulman.
Colchester, beaten 2-1 at Crawley in the league just over a fortnight ago after leading at the break, threatened when Luke Norris failed to latch onto a dangerous cross before Frank Nouble had a shot blocked.
Crawley broke the deadlock in tremendous style when Bulman,40, the oldest outfield player in the league, rifled an unstoppable shot from 25 yards into the top corner on 20 minutes.
But Colchester replied 78 seconds later through striker Norris, who struck with a bullet header from a Nouble cross.
Norris almost put his side ahead six minutes later when he headed against the crossbar following another Nouble centre.
Colchester, conquerors of Tottenham and Crystal Palace in earlier rounds, finished the half on top and Cohen Bramall had a low shot saved by Michael Luyambula shortly before the interval.
Crawley escaped when a slip by Ryan Tunnicliffe let in Bramall and his low shot flew inches wide.
Colchester went in front on 52 minutes when a 25-yard free-kick from Bramall came back off the bar and went into the net off keeper Luyambula.
Courtney Senior should have increased the visitors’ lead but wastefully blazed over after being set up by Kwame Poku.
But Colchester clinched the tie 10 minutes from time when former Crawley loanee Luke Gambin, who had come off the bench in place of Poku, turned smartly to blast home after a cross by Ryan Jackson.
The visitors coasted to victory in the closing stages with both Tom Lapslie and Brandon Comley having shots saved.