Jake Cassidy's hat-trick helped Tranmere ease past Colchester and move top of the League One table.
Cassidy, currently on loan at Rovers from Wolves, broke the deadlock when he nodded home Andy Robinson's cross, before lashing in to make it 2-0.
Rovers defender Zoumana Bakayogo then swept home to put them further ahead.
Owain fon Williams denied U's midfielder Ian Henderson a consolation, before Cassidy wrapped up the victory when he poked home his third.
The damage could have been more severe for the visitors had Jean Louis Akpa-Akpro's effort not cannoned off the post following a fine solo run.
VIEWS FROM THE DRESSING ROOM
Colchester United manager John Ward told BBC Essex:
"I was extremely disappointed with that display. The second half was a good performance from Tranmere which we didn't stand up to.
"Give credit to our opponents, they played very good football, they knocked us around a bit, but we didn't respond with any real positive thoughts.
"The second half was one-way traffic and we've been pulled apart by a very good display. We went two down and kind of fell apart, we didn't stay with the shape and the way we wanted to play.
"I was really disappointed I saw some heads drop and some people disappear a little bit - one or two people went missing for me."