Colchester manager Joe Dunne praised spot-kick hero Sam Walker after the goalkeeper's crucial penalty save helped Colchester seal a vital 2-1 win over play-off hopefuls Leyton Orient.

Walker, on loan from Chelsea, saved former U's striker Kevin Lisbie's spot-kick with 12 minutes to go, to help Colchester move six points clear of the relegation zone. Gavin Massey headed Colchester in front after 20 minutes, after substitute Bradley Garmston had brilliantly picked him out in the area.

The U's doubled their lead four minutes later when Drey Wright finished another good attacking move, after Clinton Morrison had helped Brian Wilson's low cross into his path. But Lisbie broke the offside trap to pull a goal back for the O's, eight minutes before the break.

Colchester boss Dunne said: "It was a wonderful save by Sam and he's been immense for us since he came here. We watched every penalty that Kevin Lisbie has taken in the last few years.

"We did our preparation and we looked at every penalty he had taken. He put most of them in the same place, so we said if Lisbie had a penalty to go that way."

He added: "It was a big victory for us and a big three points. It wasn't pretty and we looked very nervous. We were young and nervous and we made mistakes, but we were resilient. We're all a bit drained, but we will take the three points."

Leyton Orient boss Russell Slade said: "The first 30 minutes of the game proved critical for us. If we'd stayed in the match and then performed as we did in the second half, then I think we would have won the game.

"I don't think we had enough tempo in the opening half hour and we were short. That needed to change and to be fair it did and we showed the kind of intensity after that that I was looking for.

"We got a lifeline just before half-time with Lis (Lisbie) getting us back into the game. We were 2-1 down going into the second half and I thought we were very good after half-time and should have got something out of the game.

"We dominated in the second period and we had chances to equalise. But when you've conceded two goals in the first period, you're always chasing the game and it's not easy."