Dunne: Rough justice for U's
Joe Dunne felt Preston's winner should have been ruled out after seeing Colchester go down 2-1 following Brian Wilson's late own goal.
Wilson's inadvertent header gave Preston victory after Jabo Ibehre had cancelled out Tom Clarke's opener.
Dunne was left fuming after Joe Garner appeared to be offside when he picked out Chris Humphrey, whose cross hit U's goalkeeper Sam Walker before going in off Wilson.
Dunne said: "The through-ball was three yards offside.
"The linesman's got to make a decision and he's made a poor one.
"I think it was a cruel result and our performance was good.
"I can only take positives from this game and we can't feel sorry for ourselves.
"We were unlucky - sometimes they go for you and other times they don't.
"The second goal knocked the stuffing out of us and it's gone against us, but at this business end of the season, you want them to go for you.
"I thought that we were excellent and we matched them and probably created as many chances as they did.
"I thought that we were good going forward and we were brave enough to try and win the match.
"We did well to get back into the game and don't forget that we missed a penalty too, but I was proud of our performance."
Garner's header clattered the crossbar before Clarke powerfully headed home Paul Gallagher's set-piece to give Preston the lead, just before the half-hour mark.
Colchester were awarded a penalty soon after when Declan Rudd fouled Marcus Bean in the area, but the Preston goalkeeper recovered to save Ibehre's weak penalty.
But Ibehre made up for it nine minutes after half-time when he fired home, after his long run from the halfway line had initially resulted in his shot being blocked.
Walker then denied Garner, but Preston netted their winner with eight minutes remaining to seal three important points.