COLCHESTER United turned on the style this afternoon to move back into the League Two play-off hopes with a comprehensive 3-0 win over Newport County.

The U's produced a fine performance to outclass their opponents at the JobServe Community Stadium, thanks to goals from Sammie Szmodics, Courtney Senior and Frank Nouble.

It was the perfect response from Colchester, following their disappointing 3-0 defeat at the hands of Swindon Town, last weekend.

Colchester head coach John McGreal made three changes to his side for their game against Newport County.

Luke Norris was handed his first start since New Year’s Day and Tom Eastman and leading scorer Sammie Szmodics also returned.

Skipper Luke Prosser dropped to the bench, along with Diaz Wright and Brennan Dickenson.

Harry Pell, Tom Lapslie and Brandon Comley all missed out due to injury, as Colchester reverted to a 4-1-4-1 formation with Szmodics and Mandron playing in deeper positions.

Jamille Matt slotted into the side netting from a tight angle inside the opening minute for the visitors.

But Colchester gradually warmed to the task, with Eastman’s downward header from Courtney Senior’s curled free-kick dropping inches wide of the far post, in the 16th minute.

Sure enough, the U’s went ahead in the 20th minute through Szmodics, who nipped in to prod the ball home after Ryan Jackson had challenged Dan Butler following Frank Nouble ball into the box.

It was Szmodics’ 12th goal of the season but the visitors were unhappy that the goal was allowed to stand, protesting that Jackson had handled the ball in the build-up to the goal.

It was almost 2-0 four minutes later when Senior was sent through one on one with Day by Szmodics' pass on the counter attack.

But the U's winger was denied by the Exiles keeper, who saved with his legs.

Norris fired a low cross-shot wide of the far post from a difficult angle just before the half hour, after being sent through by Ben Stevenson.

And soon after, Nouble’s shot was blocked in the six yard box after Senior’s skill had once again had Newport back-tracking.

Colchester eventually doubled their lead in first-half stoppage-time through Senior, who was allowed space to unleash a superb 25-yard shot that flew past Day and left him beaten.

It meant that the U’s went in at the break two goals to the good and they did not rest on their laurels, in the early stages of the second half.

Day twice prevented Senior from making it 3-0 and although Colchester keeper Rene Gilmartin was called upon to claw away Joss Labadie’s close-range attempt, the hosts were on top.

Colchester went further ahead in the 63rd minute - and in some style.

Nouble collected the ball just inside the area before bamboozling left-back Butler with his step overs and then smashing a fine shot into the far corner of the net, leaving Day with no chance.

The impressive Senior came inches away from making it 4-0 a few minutes later with a shot that whistled just past a post, as the U's looked for more goals.

Substitute Brennan Dickenson forced another save from Day as the clock ticked down, as Colchester claimed a convincing win.