Colchester head coach John McGreal was delighted with the way his side handled the pressure as they beat Grimsby 1-0 to keep their League Two play-off hopes alive.
Frank Nouble scored the all-important winner in the 25th minute as Colchester responded to back-to-back defeats to move to within two points of the play-offs with three games remaining.
McGreal said: “It should have been far more comfortable than that but I thought we were excellent – the pressure is on knowing that we needed a result, knowing the Exeter result.
“We were outstanding with some of our attacking display and our defending was minimal at times but we had to deal with their two lads up top.
“But some of our attacking display was breathtaking and I think the stats prove that.
“I think we had 18 or 19 shots and 11 or 12 on target but only the one goal to show for it – but the three points is more important.
“I really enjoyed the game – the pressure is on and we have to handle that at whatever level.
“I was really proud of the boys and how we all went about it over the last couple of weeks.
“We all read where we should be and where we shouldn’t be but I’m immensely proud.”
Grimsby rarely threatened and their misery was compounded near the end when Danny Collins was dismissed after collecting a second booking in stoppage time for a foul on Colchester substitute Abo Eisa.
The Mariners are now without a win in 10 matches and the margin of their defeat might have been greater, with Courtney Senior hitting a post for the U’s in the first half.
Grimsby boss Michael Jolley said: “In the first half we didn’t do well enough and I thought Colchester were the better team.
“But in the second half, we made two changes at half-time and I thought that we had more energy and possession and created more chances to score a goal.
“I think that was credit to our players that we stayed in the game right until the very end.
“But of course we have to score and at the moment, we’re not doing well enough in terms of creating and scoring goals.
“We stayed in the contest and I thought we showed good battling qualities in the second half.
“Colchester are one of the better teams in this league and a tough team to play away from home and actually, the one goal that they did score was a bit of a gift from our perspective.
“I think there’s certainly something to build on, moving forwards.”