COLCHESTER United head coach John McGreal hailed his side’s best performance of the season as they swept aside promotion rivals Plymouth Argyle 3-0.

The Essex side had seen their proud 16-match unbeaten run unceremoniously halted at Cambridge United last Saturday.

However, they responded in the best possible fashion with three goals in a dynamic, free-flowing first-half performance.

Ben Stevenson and Theo Robinson, with a brace, did the damage and they also hit the woodwork through Brandon Comley and Callum Harriott.

McGreal was delighted and said: “It was a brilliant result.

“We wanted a reaction and to improve on our performance last week (when losing 2-1 at Cambridge United).

“Goals change games but I thought we were on the front foot even before we scored our first.

“We took our opportunities, got a good lead and could have scored a couple more.

“We hit the woodwork twice and had one cleared off the line.

“It was our top performance of the season, without a shadow of a doubt.

“Plymouth went into the game in such form, having won five out of six.

“They’ve shot right up the table and won their awards this week (manager and player of the month).

“They’ve come with a huge following from a long way but it was a great day for us.

“We can draw a lot of confidence from the performance but whereas last week we only lost three points, this week we only gained three points.”

McGreal hailed the performances of two key men – goalscoring hero Robinson and the mercurial Harriott.

“Theo came off disappointed not to get a hat-trick but I’m sure if you’d offered him a couple of goals against the form team, he would have been delighted," said the U's boss.

“He can be really pleased with his performance, as can others.

“Callum’s really finding his feet.

“People forget how much football he’s missed and we have to be careful with him, because he was out for a long time.

“But he’s a Championship player and the chairman did unbelievably well to bring him in, a bit like Dean Gerken.

“He’s finding real form and it was a lovely pass to pick out Ben (Stevenson).

“And when Ben into those kinds of positions, he’s got top-drawer quality and it was a great finish.”

Colchester are back at the JobServe Community Stadium on Tuesday, for a match against Ian Holloway's Grimsby Town.

And McGreal is hopeful of another strong showing against the Mariners.

"It’s only three points," he said, referring to Saturday's match.

“The challenge now is to match that performance.

“You’re only as good as your last game and now we need to produce another good performance on Tuesday.

“We beat Swindon the other week and then let ourselves down against Cambridge.

“I’m already moving on and we’ve got another tough game on Tuesday."