Colchester United went level on points with Coventry in seventh place, and only outside the playoffs on goal difference, as they saw off fellow promotion hunting Exeter City 3-1 on Saturday afternoon.
The U’s got off to a good start and had early chances through Tom Eastman and Sammie Szmodics, with both testing Christy Pym in the Exeter goal.
The Grecians however had the first clear cut chance of the game, as Jake Taylor found himself through on goal but only to be denied well by Sam Walker.
Moments later they were made to pay, as the U’s went in front after Szmodics’ deflected shot nestled neatly into the far corner.
Just minutes after, the U’s found themselves with a penalty after Kane Vincent-Young was brought down by Kane Wilson after some good play. Szmodics was back on penalty duty and made no mistake finding the net and doubling the lead, despite Pym getting a hand on it.
The U’s number ten was amongst the goals again shortly after. After a low cross was half cleared by the Exeter defence, the ball fell kindly to Szmodics who bent it brilliantly past Pym into the top corner from the edge of the box.
Exeter boss Paul Tisdale made an immediate change and replaced former U’s man Lloyd James with Jayden Stockley.
Just before half-time Szmodics almost made it 4-0 and so nearly completed his hat-trick, but was unfortunate to see his curling effort crash back off the post and eventually cleared.
After the break Ryan Inniss was replaced by Sean Murray, who was greeted to a warm reception after a spell on the sidelines through injury.
The visitors then hit back with 63 minutes played. A corner found its way to substitute Stockley at the back post and his header back across goal had enough on it to beat Walker.
Almost immediately Exeter had shouts of a penalty waved away by referee Darren Drysdale, after a scramble in the box saw an Exeter man hit the deck.
The Grecians' revival was in full force and Walker made himself big to deny Hiram Boateng with a brilliant save with 20 minutes left.
Kane Vincent-Young was brought down on the edge of the box, which sparked an altercation between Szmodics and Archibald-Henville, with both receiving yellow cards.
Sanmi Odelusi came on with a few minutes to play and was straight into the thick of it, making a big tackle to prevent City breaking forward down the right.
Four minutes of additional time were added on, but the U’s saw out the remainder of the game and took all three points.
This victory sees Sammie move to nine goals for the season and the U’s level on points with the teams in the playoff places, with McGreal’s men drawing level with Coventry in seventh.
The U’s will look to build on this victory away to Swindon on Friday night.