New chairman James Bowdidge appointed Roy McDonough in a playing role. At just 34, McDonough had been Atkins' assistant and vowed to go for goals abandoning Atkins' stoic sweeper system.
McDonough equalled the club record scoring four at Slough on 26 August 1991, but couldn't have planned the astonishing goal that gave U's victory at sole rivals Wycombe. In the dying moments, goalkeeper Scott Barrett's long punt down field skidded up off the greasy surface into the net to give Colchester a priceless 2-1 win, and U's completed the double against Wycombe soon after winning 3-0 at Layer Road.
Colchester Borough Council identified ten sites that might house a new stadium. Each would be investigated. The Football League decreed that all clubs must have at least 10 years lease on their stadium. Fortunately, the Council extended their arrangement.
The U's became the first team in history to be knocked out of the FA Cup without conceding a goal. Twice they drew 0-0 with Exeter only to lose on penalties; the consolation was that they led Wycombe by seven points as 1992 dawned. Sixteen home wins on the bounce failed to shake off their shadows from Buckinghamshire. A dreadful 4-1 defeat at Welling and a lackadaisical 4-4 draw at Macclesfield threatened to derail U's surge back to the League.
At just 34, McDonough had delivered his promise. He himself had netted 29 times with Steve McGavin (26) and Gary Bennett (18) part of the 98 goal League haul as Wycombe trailed by eight goals going into the last game. United annihilated Barrow 5-0 with a Mike Masters hat trick to claim the Championship.
A week later 32,254 roared United, in their first-ever Wembley appearance, to a famous non-League double gaining revenge over Witton Albion with Masters, McGavin and Nicky Smith scoring in a 3-1 win. Thousands packed the High Street a few days later as United paraded their trophies to the town. Colchester were back in the Football League.