Colchester impressively swept aside Gillingham with their best performance of the season courtesy of goals from Sanchez Watt, Clinton Morrison and Freddie Sears.
The win sees U’s keep a fourth clean sheet in five games against a Gillingham side that had previously scored in all of the last 14 games.
And it means ten points from their last five matches for Joe Dunne's men, who are quietly starting to gain some momentum with players returning and goals flowing.
Gillingham kicked off positively and were inside the Colchester box within twenty seconds but Craig Fagan’s low cross was stray and Colchester recovered the ball.
At the other end Craig Eastmond missed a decent early chance when he headed wide inside the box following Luke Garbutt’s free kick.
Clinton Morrison had the next big chance when he picked up the ball from Sanchez Watt after some good closing down; the striker raced into the box but opted for a pass which was blocked.
The returning Sanchez Watt continued to orchestrate in midfield and had a good chance of his own, after some good play between himself and Luke Garbutt he forced Stuart Nelson into a low save.
Colchester piled on the pressure and Craig Eastmond was next to come close when Clinton Morrison laid him off for a low shot which had Nelson diving low to his right to put the ball out for a corner.
The away side struggled for shots in the first half and Cody McDonald could only hit the ball high and wide after a rare Gillingham attack.
Whilst Sam Walker had virtually nothing to do in the Colchester goal, Stuart Nelson was key to keeping Colchester out at the other end after two great chances towards the end of the half.
Firstly, a great pass from Watt to Garbutt freed the full back to race into the box and shoot at Nelson’s near post. The keeper parried the hard shot away and out to Eastmond who on the volley skewered his shot wide.
Soon after Garbutt was challenging Nelson again. Marcus Bean crossed the ball in to Morrison, who laid the ball off to Garbutt for a shot outside the box but Nelson again pushed the shot away.
Colchester continued to dominate with shots from Eastmond and Wilson but neither get them ahead before the half came to a close.
The second half started with the same look of the first, Garbutt again forced a save from Nelson with a curling effort when the ball dropped to him following a corner.
And it didn’t take long for Colchester to finally break through. The ball was worked to Wilson after a 40 yard run from Watt and from the edge of the box he gave the ball back teeing up Watt to slot the ball home and give U’s a deserved lead.
Another good chance came soon after when Clinton Morrison set up Brian Wilson with a back heel flick but the Captain curled his shot high and wide of goal.
Dom Vose was next push for a second as he weaved past his defender and unleashed a shot just outside of the box which had Nelson stretching but just inched over the bar.
Colchester pulled Gillingham apart in midfield and the duel between Garbutt and Nelson continued as the full back again forced a save after a low shot which looked destined for the far corner.
Gillingham looked for some sort of response and replaced Craig Fagan and Bradley Dack with Adebayo Akinfenwa and Connor Smith, with the latter making his debut.
Luke Garbutt the stand out performer of the game had his next big chance from a free kick but he missed the chance to score two free kicks in consecutive games and his effort crept over the bar.
Some more great wing play saw Vose knock the ball into space and beat his defender to meet the ball in the box before forcing Nelson into another save at his near post.
Another fantastic chance for a second went missing as Eastmond’s low driven shot was kept out at by Nelson after some great work on the byline from Bean to create the chance.
Then with just ten minutes to go the U’s finally doubled their lead to put the game out of sight.
Garbutt swung in a free kick from out wide which fizzed across goal before falling to Watt on the edge the box. He drove a shot back towards goal which Morrison got some contact on to help it over the line and put Colchester two up.
As the game looked to be well closed out and won by Colchester substitute Freddie Sears grabbed a third for the U’s to top off a fantastic performance and result.