Colchester's Ian Henderson scored twice to help his side beat Preston.
The U's led when Anthony Wordsworth fired home a fierce effort in the bottom corner and he then set up Henderson to net from 12 yards.
North End replied through Neil Mellor's clinical shot but Henderson made it 3-1 from 20 yards out.
Preston again responded thanks to Paul Coutts' strike from range but Kayode Odejayi scored from six yards to seal the victory.
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Colchester United manager John Ward told BBC Essex:
"We've beaten a very good team. I don't think very many will score four or win here.
"A major problem last year was scoring goals away from home.
"The finishing was a lot better, we've worked very hard at it."