Colchester United sent out a statement of intent to the rest of the division on Saturday afternoon, with a 4-1 thumping of Carlisle United.
In a match of real quality, the two teams went toe to toe for the first hour, before the U's took control of the game and could have had more than their four goals.
Kurtis Guthrie grabbed the headlines with a hat-trick - and he could have had two or three more - but this was a team performance of genuine class that saw the U's rack up their fifth successive victory.
They moved up to sixth place as a result and are now eyeing up the automatic promotion spots, after making it twenty-two points out of twenty-four.
As they have done in recent weeks, the U's came flying out of the blocks and grabbed their tenth goal of the season within the first fifteen minutes as Chris Porter scored his eighth of campaign.
Good work from Craig Slater - who was imperious all game - got the ball to Dickenson and his cross was powered home by the U's number nine.
The goal stung Carlisle into life, and it set up a first half that rarely let up, with both teams properly going for it.
The Cumbrians started to turn the screw and drew level on 28 minutes as, following a spell of possession, a cross was headed in by Brisley with a looping header.
But five minutes later, the U's got their noses back in front.
It was the first of Guthrie's treble as he worked some space on the edge of the box and unleashed an excellent left footed effort past Gillespie.
The first half display was good, but there was more to come after the break.
The fans will barely have had chance to catch their breath before the U's extended their advantage.
Another fine build-up saw Porter sell his man a dummy on the edge of the box, and Guthrie stepped onto it to lash home his second and make it 3-1.
But again, Carlisle were straight back at the U's, showing why they've been up there all season.
Wyke drilled a shot just past the upright, before Kennedy lifted his half volley just over the bar after some good approach play.
However, the final quarter of the game was about the U's attacking prowess.
Lapslie sent Brindley away and Porter's powerful header went inches past the post as the U's pressed.
With twenty minutes to go, Guthrie almost completed his treble as his shot smacked against the crossbar, before the ball was hooked clear.
In injury time, the U's had three chances to extend their advantage.
Fosu set up Guthrie, who saw his low shot saved, before Johnstone then set up the U's number 28 for a further chance.
He tricked his way past Gillespie in the Carlisle goal, but as he tried to finish his treble in style, it was eventually seen away by the Carlisle defence.
He was not to be stopped though, as Johnstone had a shot saved right at the death and Guthrie slid it home for a deserved treble.
There were plenty of smiling faces in the stands as the fans departed - this was one of the best displays since the move to the new stadium and the U's are real contenders now.