Alex Pike was left to count the cost of the defensive disruption that he felt was a key part of Gosport Borough’s demise.
Borough were without their influential skipper Sam Pearce through suspension as Ben Gerring and Brett Poate endured a torrid afternoon at the heart of the defence.
Pike admitted it had been a big blow to his side’s usual defensive solidity but was still pleased with the way his troops stuck to their task on the big occasion.
He said: ‘We had Sam Pearce ripped out of our defence and it’s no disrespect to Ben Gerring but Sam won every award at this club last season.
‘We missed him back there.
‘My back four admitted that they’d played too deep in that first half and it meant my midfield couldn’t get close enough. Colchester had too much time on the ball.
‘But Brett Poate didn’t look the same without Pearcey alongside him.
‘The fifth goal summed it up for him when he went to play a long diagonal ball and it ends up in the back of our net a few seconds later.
‘You don’t expect him to do that.
‘There were lots of things I didn’t expect. You want to keep it tight for those first 20 minutes and we didn’t do that.
‘You just don’t expect to concede three goals in the manner that we did in those first 20-odd minutes.
‘I also thought Brett was lucky to stay on the pitch but I thought it was poor refereeing at the time.
‘He could have allowed the advantage and given the goal but after he gave the penalty, I thought Brett had to go.’
Colchester had quality in abundance – especially in their front three who all had pace and ability to cause problems.
Pike said: ‘They are good players and they know the bigger picture by the time they have controlled it.
‘At our level, we take a touch, then we look up and pass it.
‘But they think a few seconds quicker than us and I’m sure that is what full-time training does for you.
‘We gifted them the ball too often and if you do that, you will get crucified by players from that level.
‘We haven’t disgraced ourselves. But they were the better side.’