JOHN McGreal admits lapses in concentration at key moments once again proved costly for his side after they were beaten 2-0 at home by in-form Tranmere Rovers this afternoon.

The U's fell to a third straight defeat and a fourth loss in five matches after losing to fifth-placed Rovers, who have now won six games on the bounce.

Colchester now lie four points off the League Two play-off places after goals in each half for James Norwood and former U's midfielder David Perkins sealed the visitors all three points.

U's head coach McGreal said: “We were on top of the game and probing but a little lapse in concentration has cost us.

“When you give a goalscorer like (James) Norwood an opportunity like that, he’s going to take it and he’s been in top form.

“It’s just the lack of concentration and we were punished for it.

“We created chances and got into those positions and at 1-0, we got back into the game.

“At half-time, it was all about the importance of staying in the game but they scored after 40 seconds and that absolutely killed us.

“It was a poor goal for us to give away, especially after having spoken about staying in it at half-time – it was a poor goal to give away.

“We hit the bar after that but we have to keep working hard and pushing.”

Colchester, who lie ninth in League Two with seven games to go, were without several players for the Tranmere games.

Rene Gilmartin and Tom Eastman were both ruled out through injury, joining Harry Pell and Brandon Comley in the treatment room.

And Frank Nouble was also missing after having his one-game suspension extended by two more matches following his dismissal against Forest Green Rovers.

"We can only get ourselves out of it," said McGreal.

"We have to regroup again and we've got what we've got.

"We'll continue to keep trying to do what we try and do.

"We had injuries again before we started the game to Rene and Easty.

"It's just the way we are at the minute.

"We're lacking in numbers and lacking in big players and also loss of form in certain individuals but we have to keep going.

"Looking at what's happened over the last three weeks, we've had big, big players missing and big personalities missing.

"But I keep saying it - it gives someone else an opportunity and I don't try and moan about injuries and stuff.

"People are forgetting about (Brandon) Comley - instead of being a three or four week injury, it's now another three or four weeks from this moment in time.

"With Pelle and Nouble being out we miss those big players and it's going against us at the minute but we'll continue to work hard."

Colchester's next game is at Cambridge United, next Saturday.