Guy Whittingham was full of praise for Crawley's defence after they withstood a second half revival from Colchester to secure a 1-0 victory at the Checkatrade.com Stadium.
Mike Jones had given Reds a lead they just about deserved four minutes before the interval when he finished coolly after being superbly set up by Billy Clarke.
Colchester responded well from the restart with Sanchez Watt and Dominic Vose both being denied by the woodwork.
But Crawley's back four held firm to keep a clean sheet for the third home game in their last four and lift Reds to 14th spot in League One.
First team coach Whittingham said: "You are always happy when you win and put in what I would call a grinding performance. We use that word grinding a lot when we talk to the players and they had to do that today.
"We found ourselves under a lot of pressure in the second half and the fact Kyle (McFadzean) won man of the match shows how many balls the defence had to get their heads on.
"It wasn't a classic but to come away with a clean sheet and three points is very satisfying and gets us back on track after a few disappointing results."