COLCHESTER United’s relegation fears intensified after sliding to a fourth straight defeat this afternoon, going down 2-1 at home to Tranmere Rovers.

Freddie Sears scored the U’s goal late in the first half, cancelling out Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro’s opener.

But Ryan Lowe pounced to grab Rovers’ precious winner just after the hour-mark.

Tranmere took the lead nine minutes before the break, following a goal against the run of play.

Colchester were caught in possession and Max Power fed dangerous wide man Akpa Akpro, who burst forward before slotting past goalkeeper Sam Walker.

It was hard luck on the U’s, who had dominating proceedings prior to the setback.

Jabo Ibehre, back in the starting line-up, fired over and then burst through on goal after a clever pass from Freddie Sears – only to have his weak effort saved by Owain Fon Williams.

Alex Gilbey then had a half-volleyed tipped over by the impressive shot-stopper, who then came to his side’s rescue again to keep out a rising effort from Sears.

But there was nothing the Rovers goalkeeper to do to keep out Sears’ leveller.

The dangerous Dominic Vose fed Ryan Dickson, who squared from the left, and Sears nipped in to turn the ball home from cloe range.

The second half was more flat and less uneventful than the first.

And it was the visitors who scored the only goal of the period - what proved their precious winner.

Akpa Akpro beat right-back Gavin Massey, before delivering a low cross that was turned in by Lowe.

Colchester tried to create some pressure and Drey Wright had a shot blocked just in front of the line by Matthew Pennington.

But the U’s ran out of steam and the result leaves them hovering just above the danger zone.