Forest Green moved up to third in the Sky Bet League Two table with their fifth 1-0 win of the season.
Colchester captain Luke Prosser’s 31st-minute own goal handed Mark Cooper’s side victory in a game inspired by Rovers’ Celtic loanee Jack Aitchison.
Prosser and goalkeeper Dean Gerken got in a tangle as a James Morton ball into the box clipped Prosser and rolled into the net.
Aitchison was pulling the strings. Picking up a pass from Morton he fed Matty Stevens who saw his shot beaten down by Gerken, with Kyle Taylor’s follow-up strike deflected over.
Colchester had offered little attacking intent until Forest Green went in front.
Quick feet from Lewis Thomas denied Luke Gambin after Frank Nouble’s flick opened Rovers up, who hung on despite five minutes of added time.