Ross Embleton made eight changes to the team that lost 3-1 to Charlton on Tuesday night, but stuck with the same formation, as Jordan Thomas and James Brophy started at wing-back.
Elsewhere, Akinola, Coulson and Happe all returned to start in the heart of defence and Hector Kyprianou retained his place in midfield to get his first minutes in the league this season.
The O’s certainly looked comfortable on the ball in the opening stages of the match and were the first side to register a shot on target. Conor Wilkinson found Jobi McAnuff in the middle of the park, who fired the ball 30-yards from goal, but his low strike was clawed away by Dean Gerken.
Colchester took the lead with virtually their first burst forward. Jevani Brown was found by a smart pass over the Orient defence and the United man applied the finish to put the hosts ahead after 11 minutes.
Ross Embleton’s team continued to see plenty of possession following the goal but breaking into the opposition’s final third was proving a challenge as the men in blue pressed very well.
The home side looked far more dangerous in the final third in the opening half hour, though Vigouroux wasn’t made to make a save. Steve Ball’s team were pumping plenty of balls into the box but were never able to get shots off and test the ‘keeper.
Down the other end, Thomas came close to marking his first league start with a goal. His fierce strike from the edge of the area looked destined for the bottom corner, but a Colchester defender stuck out a leg out and made a vital block.
Orient finished the half in much better form but couldn’t clinch an equaliser before the break.
The O’s pressed much higher in the opening stages of the second-half, but Colchester were more than happy for Orient to pass the ball around in front of them. Ross Embleton responded and looked to make a change just 9 minutes after the restart, introducing leading goal scorer Danny Johnson from the bench in place of Tunji Akinola.
Immediately after the substitution, Lawrence Vigouroux twice denied Brown from bolstering the Colchester lead. Brown found himself behind the Orient back line on a couple of occasions, but the O’s Chilean shot-stopper stood strong to thwart the Colchester number 10 and keep the game in reach.
Maguire-Drew replaced Hector Kyprianou moments before another superb Vigouroux stop. Senior threaded a cute ball to Folivi, who looked to find the far corner, but Vigouroux’s left boot intervened.
The goalkeeper couldn’t prevent Colchester’s second goal though. Relentless pressure from the U’s was finally rewarded when Brown squeezed a left footed drive into the bottom corner after the ball had bobbled around in the O’s box.
The star man was replaced with five minutes to go and it seemed the U’s would comfortably see the game out, but Wilkinson set up a tense finish when Sam Ling’s strike deflected off him and bundled past Gerken, with just two minutes to go.
Four minutes were added on to the usual 90, but it wouldn’t be enough for the O’s, as the game finished 2-1.
UNITED: Gerken, Welch-Hayes, Bramall, Smith, Senior, Pell, Brown (Norris 85’), Chilvers, Eastman, Poku, Folivi (Bohui 83’)
SUBS: George, Sowunmi, Cowan-Hall, Clampin, Marshall Miranda
GOALS: Brown 11’ 72’
BOOKED: Welch-Hayes 66’
ORIENT: Vigouroux, Cisse, Happe, Coulson, McAnuff, Wilkinson, Thomas (Ling 78’), Brophy, Dennis, Akinola (Johnson 54’), Kyprianou (Maguire-Drew 67’)
SUBS: Sargeant, Widdowson, Dayton, Wright
GOALS: Wilkinson 88’
REF: Carl Boyeson