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."
Live Text Commentary
Full Time The final whistle goes and the game is over.90:00 +3:12
Effort on goal by Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro from inside the penalty area goes harmlessly over the bar.90:00 +2:35
Michael O'Halloran produces a right-footed shot from deep inside the penalty box which goes wide of the right-hand upright.90:00 +0:29 Goal scored
Goal! - Michael O'Halloran - Colchester 1 - 5 Tranmere Placed penalty scored by Michael O'Halloran. Colchester 1-5 Tranmere.89:39
Foul by Josh Thompson on Michael O'Halloran, Penalty awarded.87:59
Andy Bond takes a outswinging corner.87:33
Outswinging corner taken by Freddie Sears from the right by-line, Michael Kay manages to make a clearance.85:57
Andy Bond takes a shot. Save by Owain Fon Williams.84:52 Goal scored
Goal! - Cole Stockton - Colchester 1 - 4 Tranmere Cole Stockton finds the net with a goal from just outside the area to the bottom left corner of the goal. Colchester 1-4 Tranmere.81:40
Jabo Ibehre takes a shot. Save by Owain Fon Williams.80:48 Substitution
Substitution Paul Black on for Andy Robinson.79:43
Handball decision goes against Michael O'Halloran. Free kick taken by Bradley Garmston.74:10 Substitution
Substitution (Colchester) makes a substitution, with Clinton Morrison coming on for Billy Clifford.74:10
Unfair challenge on Andy Robinson by John White results in a free kick. Indirect free kick taken by Ash Taylor.73:04
Cole Stockton takes a shot. Save by Sam Walker.72:31
Corner taken right-footed by Andy Robinson.70:10
Freddie Sears takes a shot. Save by Owain Fon Williams.69:50
Cole Stockton takes a shot. Save by Sam Walker.68:52 Substitution
Substitution Cole Stockton on for Mamady Sidibe.64:36
The assist for the goal came from Michael Kay.
Goal! - Ash Taylor - Colchester 1 - 3 Tranmere Ash Taylor scores a headed goal from close in. Colchester 1-3 Tranmere.64:05
Free kick taken by Paul Corry.64:05 Booking
Booking The referee books Josh Thompson for unsporting behaviour.64:00
Foul by Josh Thompson on Andy Robinson, free kick awarded.63:12 Substitution
Substitution (Colchester) makes a substitution, with Andy Bond coming on for David Wright.61:28
Shot by Freddie Sears from deep inside the penalty area misses to the right of the goal.59:07
Bradley Garmston produces a right-footed shot from outside the penalty box and misses left.57:48
Close range shot by Gavin Massey goes wide of the right-hand upright.56:47
Unfair challenge on Magnus Okuonghae by Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Billy Clifford.55:31
Magnus Okuonghae challenges Mamady Sidibe unfairly and gives away a free kick. Max Power restarts play with the free kick.54:57
Shot from outside the box by Freddie Sears misses to the left of the target.53:37
Corner from the right by-line taken by Freddie Sears, Andy Robinson manages to make a clearance.52:30 Substitution
Substitution Drey Wright joins the action as a substitute, replacing George Porter.52:30
Mamady Sidibe is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Sam Walker takes the free kick.51:30
Andy Robinson takes a shot. Save by Sam Walker.50:54
John White concedes a free kick for a foul on Andy Robinson. Andy Robinson takes the indirect free kick.48:54
Inswinging corner taken by Andy Robinson from the left by-line, clearance by Gavin Massey.47:07 Booking
Booking Caution for Paul Corry.46:57
Freddie Sears fouled by Paul Corry, the ref awards a free kick. Magnus Okuonghae restarts play with the free kick.45:01
The second half has started.45:00 +1:21 Half time
Half Time The ref blows to signal half-time.45:00 +0:30
George Porter is caught offside. Indirect free kick taken by Michael Kay.43:40
Effort from outside the penalty box by David Wright goes wide right of the goal.43:08
Ash Taylor concedes a free kick for a foul on Jabo Ibehre. Free kick taken by Billy Clifford.42:35
Header from close in by Mamady Sidibe misses to the right of the goal.40:35 Goal scored
Goal! - Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro - Colchester 1 - 2 Tranmere Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro grabs a goal from just outside the penalty area to the bottom right corner of the goal. Colchester 1-2 Tranmere.38:50
Andy Robinson concedes a free kick for a foul on Billy Clifford. Free kick taken by Sam Walker.38:12
The official flags Jabo Ibehre offside. Ash Taylor takes the free kick.35:19
George Porter challenges Paul Corry unfairly and gives away a free kick. Indirect free kick taken by Michael Kay.34:32
Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro produces a left-footed shot from deep inside the penalty box which goes wide of the left-hand upright.33:32
Effort from inside the area by Andy Robinson misses to the right of the goal.30:41
Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Andy Robinson played to the near post, Sam Walker makes a save.28:02
Assist on the goal came from Jabo Ibehre.28:02 Goal scored
Goal! - Magnus Okuonghae - Colchester 1 - 1 Tranmere Goal scored by Magnus Okuonghae from close range to the bottom left corner of the goal. Colchester 1-1 Tranmere.26:26
Unfair challenge on Billy Clifford by Mamady Sidibe results in a free kick. Strike on goal comes in from Billy Clifford from the free kick.25:02
Inswinging corner taken by Freddie Sears, save by Owain Fon Williams.22:06
Freddie Sears takes the inswinging corner, save by Owain Fon Williams.21:44
Freddie Sears takes a shot. Blocked by Ian Goodison.20:57
Foul by Mamady Sidibe on Bradley Garmston, free kick awarded. Sam Walker restarts play with the free kick.19:25
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on George Porter by Andy Robinson. Sam Walker takes the free kick.18:25
Mamady Sidibe fouled by Josh Thompson, the ref awards a free kick. Andy Robinson takes the indirect free kick.16:40
Josh Thompson concedes a free kick for a foul on Mamady Sidibe. Free kick taken by Andy Robinson.16:15
Gavin Massey takes a shot. Owain Fon Williams makes a save.12:27
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Andy Robinson by Magnus Okuonghae. Andy Robinson restarts play with the free kick.10:53
Andy Robinson provided the assist for the goal.10:53 Goal scored
Goal! - Max Power - Colchester 0 - 1 Tranmere Max Power finds the back of the net with a goal from just outside the box to the top left corner of the goal. Colchester 0-1 Tranmere.10:28
Outswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Andy Robinson,9:14
Magnus Okuonghae takes a shot. Owain Fon Williams makes a save.7:20
Corner from the left by-line taken by Andy Robinson, save by Sam Walker.6:54
Billy Clifford concedes a free kick for a foul on Max Power. Indirect free kick taken by Michael Kay.3:14
Shot from outside the area by Billy Clifford misses to the left of the goal.1:56
Josh Thompson concedes a free kick for a foul on Mamady Sidibe. Michael Kay takes the free kick.0:00
The ref blows the whistle to start the match.
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