Carlisle United produced a stunning display to sweep aside former Cumbrians boss John Ward's Colchester.
James Berrett smashed in a superb 35-yarder before Craig Curran latched onto Francois Zoko's pass to chip home.
Liam Noble prodded in their third after the ball fell kindly in the area while Curran grabbed his second when he glanced home Matty Robson's cross.
The visitors, who barely threatened all afternoon, grabbed a consolation when Steven Gillespie poked in.
Colchester United manager John Ward told BBC Essex:
"We were beaten by the better side and we did not compete like we have during the rest of the season.
"I warned the team prior to the game that if we allowed Carlisle to pass the ball like they did we would have problems.
"Our final deliveries did not hurt the other team."