Ryan Bowman bagged a second-half hat-trick as Exeter turned in a superb performance to thrash Colchester 6-1 at St James Park.
Exeter started well and went in front in the 20th minute when Joel Randall showed great skill down the left and crossed low for Matt Jay, who produced a cute finish from close range.
The second goal that Exeter’s play deserved finally arrived eight minutes after the break when Randell Williams sent Jay clear and he squared for Randall to tap into an empty net.
And the third followed soon after when Bowman slid in to convert Jack Sparkes’ perfect cross.
Bowman added his second, again from close range, after more sensational wing play from the outstanding Randall.
Randall went off after that and almost immediately, Colchester, who were beaten by Exeter in the League Two play-offs last season, pulled one back as Michael Folivi got the better of Alex Hartridge and side-footed in off the far post.
Bowman then notched his hat-trick goal in stoppage time as he was in the right place to tap in from close range after Sparkes had seen his effort come back off the crossbar, then almost immediately, Nicky Ajose struck the post and Jay finished from close range.