Neither side had any clear opportunities in the early minutes, with the O's having the lion's share of the possession.
Michael Patrasso was the most lively player on the pitch in the fairly quiet opening stages. The winger, on loan from Queens Park Rangers, was causing the Colchester defence all sorts of problems with his darting runs.
Colchester started well in the second half as they worked the ball down the left, but Gavin Massey wasted his effort.
Despite the home side's dominance, it was Colchester who took the lead out of nowhere.
Sanchez Watt broke away from an Orient corner and slotted the ball under Woods for his first goal since January.
Colchester were in dreamland in the 69th minute as they secured victory when a mistake from Mathieu Baudry allowed Sears to score his third goal of the season.