James Perch's lucky second-half strike was enough to earn Nottingham Forest maximum points against fellow promotion hopefuls Colchester.
An attempted clearance from Wayne Brown cannoned off Perch and nestled in the corner of the net with 17 minutes left.
The U's best chance fell to Chris Iwelumo who wastefully fired over from close range.
Eight players were cautioned in a scrappy match that saw Forest make it 20 points from a possible 24.
Nottm Forest: Pedersen, Bennett, Breckin, Morgan, Curtis, Commons, Gary Holt, Perch, Clingan (Thompson 79), Grant Holt (Lester 76), Tyson.
Subs Not Used: Gamble, Cullip, Southall.
Booked: Breckin, Tyson, Bennett.
Goals: Perch 72.
Colchester: Davison, Duguid, Brown, Richards (Chilvers 89), Baldwin, Yeates (Campbell-Ryce 75), Watson, Danns, Halford, Vernon (Clarke 67), Iwelumo.
Subs Not Used: Gerken, White.
Booked: Duguid, Danns, Watson, Clarke, Campbell-Ryce.
Ref: I Williamson (Berkshire).