Colchester's lingering play-off hopes were finally ended after they were held to a 1-1 draw by battling Tranmere who remain in the relegation zone.
The Us needed to win in order to keep their slim promotion hopes alive and they made the best possible start when they took the lead in the fourth minute through midfielder Anthony Wordsworth.
He smashed a powerful right-foot shot home from the edge of the area after Tranmere had failed to clear their lines, but Rovers were back on level terms two minutes later.
Home goalkeeper Ben Williams palmed Joss Labadie's long-range effort into the air and then attempted to palm away a second time, only for Ian Thomas-Moore to convert from close range.
Colchester's Ashley Vincent was stretchered off before Zoumana Bakayogo's 25-yard effort flashed inches wide for the visitors.
Simon Hackney and Kayode Odejayi both went close for Colchester and Williams made a fine save to tip over Marlon Broomes' long-range effort.
But the hosts had midfielder David Prutton sent off in injury time after a second booking and Rovers claimed a point which could yet prove vital in their battle against the drop.
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