Luton suffered their second successive London One North defeat as they were beaten 37-18 by a well organised Colchester side on Saturday.
Missing key players through injury, the home side, sporting pink socks in recognition of Cancer Awareness, were also without the head coach Paul Allen who was with the second team in Towcester.
Luton took the game to Colchester early on and hooker Ben Murphy opened the scoring after 10minutes, robustly powering his way through from a line out.
Rik Hobbs was unsuccessful with the conversion kick and Colchester were soon in front themselves as James McRae went over, with David Higgins converting.
Making the most of his limited opportunities, winger Tesh Edwards then skilfully ducked, dodged and with raw power scored a blistering try.
Hobbs again missed the target as he did with a long-range penalty as Luton led 10-7 at the break.
Shortly into the second half, ex-Luton winger David Brennan came back to sink his former side, linking up with his new team mates to score a well deserved try.
Higgins added a penalty before Tom Albone, playing with a damaged hand kicked one for the home side, as they trailed 15-13.
An aggressive Brennan came back for more, scoring a second try but Higgins again missed his conversion.
Mahmood then returned to the field in place of try scorer Murphy who sustained a hamstring injury.
In the 62nd minute, Colchester’s Brett Cutbush smashed through the Luton back line, but Higgins’ radar was off again as the lead stayed at 25-13.
Both teams made a flurry of substitutions as tiredness became a factor.
Back row Will Temperley bagged Luton’s third try following some great interchanging passes to make it 25-18 as Albone couldn’t add the extras.
Callum Irvine then exposed Luton’s frailties and capitalised with another try, while Higgins this time converted.
Colchester added the game’s ninth try through Damian Brambly who raced to the touch line, but Higgins missed the kick as his side finished 37-18.
To read the reaction of Luton skills coach Chris Parr, see the News/Gazette on sale now.