Match ends, Cardiff City 3, Colchester United 1.
Cardiff beat Colchester at a near-empty Cardiff City Stadium to become the first team to reach the fourth round of the FA Cup.
Joe Ralls's deflected effort gave the Championship side a 1-0 half-time lead against their League One opponents.
Kadeem Harris's hooked volley doubled the lead before Kenwyne Jones headed in seconds after coming on.
Freddie Sears pulled one back for Colchester with a low drive, but Cardiff were comfortable winners.
The attendance of 4,194 was the smallest ever at Cardiff City Stadium, lower than the crowd of 5,545 that watched Cardiff's League Cup match against Dagenham & Redbridge in 2009.
Cardiff fans had turned on manager Russell Slade following Sunday's 4-2 home loss to Watford, and some of the few supporters who did attend on Friday protested against owner Vincent Tan's rebranding of the club.
Despite facing a Colchester side 35 places below them in the Football League, Cardiff named a strong and experienced side.
One of the six changes from Sunday's dismal 4-2 defeat to Watford, Ralls had the game's first chance as his well-struck shot was palmed away by Sam Walker.
The Colchester goalkeeper did not fare as well with Ralls's next effort, the Cardiff midfielder's strike from the edge of the area deflecting off Kaspar Gorkss and Cole Kpekawa and looping into the net.
Colchester had chances of their own, Gorkss heading narrowly wide and Gavin Massey forcing Simon Moore into a superb save with a low shot from close range.
It was more comfortable for Cardiff in the second half, and Harris scored their second goal in acrobatic fashion as he latched on to Ben Turner's header and connected with an overhead kick.
Victory was sealed seven minutes later as Jones, on as a substitute for only a few seconds, headed in from Peter Whittingham's corner with his first touch of the game.
With hopes of a comeback all but gone, Colchester claimed a late consolation goal as Sears scored with a low shot despite a touch from Moore.
- 40K Harris
- 7WhittinghamSubstituted forLe Fondreat 69'minutes
- 11NooneSubstituted forda Silvaat 85'minutes
- 14MachedaSubstituted forJonesat 60'minutes
- 3da Silva
- 5Ecuele Manga
- 10Le Fondre
- 24MoncurSubstituted forLapslieat 64'minutes
- 41HewittSubstituted forSembie-Ferrisat 85'minutes
- 21MasseySubstituted forSanchez Wattat 62'minutesBooked at 64mins
- 7Sanchez Watt
- James Linington
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Cardiff City 3, Colchester United 1.
Fabio (Cardiff City) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Cole Kpekawa (Colchester United).
Tom Adeyemi (Cardiff City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Sammie Szmodics (Colchester United).
Corner, Colchester United. Conceded by Simon Moore.
Attempt blocked. Sammie Szmodics (Colchester United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.
Foul by Fabio (Cardiff City).
Sammie Szmodics (Colchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Cardiff City. Fabio replaces Craig Noone.
Substitution, Colchester United. Dion Sembie-Ferris replaces Elliott Hewitt.
Attempt missed. Sanchez Watt (Colchester United) left footed shot from outside the box is too high.
Declan John (Cardiff City) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Sean Clohessy (Colchester United).
Attempt blocked. Freddie Sears (Colchester United) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked.
Corner, Colchester United. Conceded by Ben Turner.
Attempt blocked. Freddie Sears (Colchester United) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.
Goal! Cardiff City 3, Colchester United 1. Freddie Sears (Colchester United) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Sanchez Watt.
Craig Noone (Cardiff City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.