There was no hiding the fact that tonight Cardiff City Stadium was virtually empty.
Attendances for League games are announced including all season ticket holders but for the FA Cup tie with all tickets bought counted the attendance of 4,194 was the lowest for a first team game since the stadium opened in 2009.
There were a number of factors. 1, entry was by a purchased ticket, the games are not included in a season ticket, 2, it was live on BC2 Wales, 3, it was a cold night and 4th, fans are fed up with the club and used this game as an excuse not to go.
I think even in favourable circumstances the crowd tonight would have only been around 8,000 anyway but the drop to just a few over 4,000 is significant.
There were fans in the ground holding up Tan Out banners and rumours posted online after the game suggested people were ejected and told they would be banned for standing up and protesting.
The victory for City, a first since the end of November, came courtesy of a side with six changes from the defeat against Watford.
Russell Slade changed to a 4 - 5 - 1 formation with Federico Macheda given the lone strikers role. He didn't do anything to stake a claim for a place in the side for next weeks visit of Fulham.
There was better invention and drive from Joe Ralls and Kadeem Harris who tried to give City some impetus in attack.
A low key first half saw a decent effort from Ralls saved by Sam Walker and a charging run and shot from Tom Adeyemi that produced a better save from the Colchester keeper.
Peter Whittingham saw a corner kick almost go in directly, the ball hitting the post. Gavin Massey drew a superb save from Simon Moore in the Cardiff goal as Colchester countered with a quick attack of their own.
Kaspars Gorkss went close with a header for Colchester but the only goal of the opening 45 mins came from a Joe Ralls shot from distance that took two deflections. The final touch from Cole Kpekawa looking like being credited as an own goal.
The second half saw a more confident City step up a gear and more goals followed. Kadeem Harris reacted quickest in the box to acrobatically volley the second goal, and after coming on as a sub for the disappointing Macheda, Kenwynne Jones headed City's third with his first touch.
Cardiff eased off the gas and Colchester sniffed a way back into the game. Freddie Sears, who caused City problems all night burst through to score and with 15 mins staill to play there were some nervous moments.
None moreso than a scramble that almost saw Adeyemi ricochet the ball into his own goal but Matt Connolly cleared.
But City saw it out and go into Monday's draw for round 4.
City's away trip at Middlesbrough on Jan 24th will now be re-arranged as that is 4th round weekend.