Harry Pell's double inspired promotion-chasing Colchester to an impressive 3-0 win away at struggling Port Vale in League Two.
John McGreal's men were ahead after five minutes when Courtney Senior's right-footed shot from range deflected into the bottom right-corner of the net and beyond Scott Brown.
The visiting U's doubled their lead after 18 minutes as Pell, unmarked at the far post following a set-piece, drove right-footed across goal into the bottom-left corner.
Searching for a route back into the contest, Neil Aspin's hosts saw Tom Pope's header saved by Rene Gilmartin and Ben Whitfield's effort hit the post before the break, while Antony Kay headed over after the restart.
Pell completed his brace after 69 minutes at a rain-soaked Vale Park, thumping the ball from outside the penalty area to pick out the top corner and seal an emphatic win for the rampant Essex side.
Colchester remain in fourth position in the fourth tier after collecting maximum points in Staffordshire, while lowly Vale are 19th and just five points above the relegation zone.