Tranmere moved up to third in League One and a point off top with a comprehensive victory over Colchester.
Max Power opened the scoring with a vicious strike but the U's equalised when Magnus Okuonghae swept home.
Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro lobbed the ball into the net to restore Tranmere's lead before Ash Taylor powered in a header.
Substitute Cole Stockton drove home a low shot from the edge of the area and Michael O'Halloran wrapped up the win from the penalty spot.
Tranmere were awarded a spot-kick after O'Halloran was tripped in the area by Josh Thompson.
Rovers are now level on points with second-placed Swindon and Doncaster, who are fourth.
VIEWS FROM THE DRESSING ROOM
Colchester United manager Joe Dunne told BBC Essex:
"What should I do? Tell them that we're down? I'm the manager of the club and I still believe we can get out of where we are.
"I still believe we have enough, unfortunately today was a day when I thought some of the players were feeling a bit sorry for themselves.
"When that happens we need strength and character and we didn't have enough of that today, but they've showed it before.
"It's hard to take. It's very disappointing, The goals were very, very poor, generally we were second best all over the pitch. Five is hard to take."
Colchester United 44 Walker 03 Garmston 04 Okuonghae 25 White 40 Thompson Booked 02 Wright (Bond - 64' ) 11 Sears 21 Massey 39 Porter (Wright - 53' ) 41 Clifford (Morrison - 75' ) 17 Ibehre Substitutes 01 Cousins 18 Eastman 20 Wilson 14 Bond 15 Bean 30 Wright 09 Morrison Tranmere Rovers 01 fon Williams 04 Taylor 05 Goodison 14 Bakayogo 19 Kay 10 Robinson (Black - 81' ) 17 Power 20 O'Halloran 24 Corry Booked 25 Sidibe (Stockton - 69' ) 26 Akpa Akpro Substitutes 33 Mooney 02 Holmes 03 Black 23 Daniels 12 Harrison 16 Stockton 22 Bell-Baggie