COLCHESTER United provided their fans with plenty of festive cheer after claiming an impressive 3-1 victory at Leyton Orient this afternoon.

A brace from Theo Robinson and Harry Pell's strike lifted the U's up to fourth in League Two - temporarily at least - as they extended their unbeaten league run to eight matches in style in front of nearly 800 U's fans at a rain-sodden Brisbane Road.

Substitute Ruel Sotiriou ensured a frantic finish when he pulled a goal back for the hosts, with four minutes to go before Robinson made it safe.

Colchester boss John McGreal made two changes to his starting line-up for their game against Orient.

Dean Gerken recovered from a back injury to return in goal in place of Ethan Ross, while Omar Sowunmi earned a second league start of the season in central defence in place of the injured Luke Prosser.

Pell captained the U's, in Prosser's absence while Courtney Senior, Brandon Comley and leading scorer Luke Norris returned to the squad and were on the bench.

Colchester started the game brightly, in the East London rain.

They almost went ahead in the second minute through Callum Harriott, who forced O's keeper Sargeant into a smart save after the U's winger found room in the area and slammed in a shot at his near post.

Orient then enjoyed a brief spell when they got on top after that.

James Dayton was unable to properly connect from ten yards after James Brophy had done well to escape from Ryan Jackson and send in a cross.

And minutes later, Jordan Maguire-Drew's 25-yard free-kick flew over the bar for the hosts.

Lee Angol's fierce shot went just wide of the near post for Orient but then Colchester began to threaten.

Pell's goalbound header was cleared from near his own goal-line by George Marsh, following Harriott's corner.

And just after the half hour mark, Theo Robinson's back header from Cohen Bramall's free-kick into the area dropped just past the post.

Colchester then went ahead, three minutes before the break.

Kwame Poku released Jackson down the right and the full-back delivered a low cross that was slammed home by Robinson from three yards.

The U's went in at half-time ahead and almost doubled their lead five minutes after the break.

Poku’s attempted cross came back off the outside of the post and went off for a goal-kick, as the U's pressed.

Luke Gambin's shot was brilliantly saved by Sargeant from point blank range after Marvin Ekpiteta's error had presented the chance to the U's man.

And sure enough, Colchester doubled their lead in the 64th minute thanks to a fine team goal.

After some great attacking play, Harriott's low shot was parried by Sargeant but Pell was on hand to strike the ball home to double the U's lead and send the travelling fans into raptures.

Orient came a whisker away from pulling a goal back soon after when Angol's free-kick deflected inches wide for a corner.

Substitute Matt Harrold headed George Marsh's deep cross wide at the far post with 15 minutes remaining for the hosts, as they looked for a route back into the contest.

Harrold hooked another effort just over soon after while Jordan Maguire-Drew lifted the ball well over, after Gerken had only been able to palm the ball into his path in the area.

Orient finally pulled a goal back with four minutes remaining through substitute Ruel Sotiriou, who followed up to score after Gerken had saved Harrold's header.

But just as the home side were threatening to score an equalise, Colchester made the game safe in the 90th minute.

Robinson swept home for his second of the game, after Senior had done well to create the chance and seen his shot saved by Sargeant.

It was a great way for Colchester and their jubilant fans to end a superb Boxing Day afternoon.