Cheltenham Town won away from home for the third time this season as a debut goal from Sanmi Odelusi and three more from Nigel Atangana, Jerell Sellars and Mo Eisa helped seal three points at Colchester.
Kurtis Guthrie fired the hosts ahead five minutes before half-time but Kyel Reid’s sending off shortly after proved to be the turning point as Cheltenham hit four unanswered second half goals.
Odelusi took advantage of a goal-mouth scramble to equalise before Nigel Atangana prodded in to give the Robins the lead for the first time.
With little in the way of resistance from the hosts, Sellars finished through the keepers’ legs before Eisa netted his 13th of the season to complete a brilliant comeback.
Gary Johnson made three changes to the team that started at Stevenage including bringing in new loan signing Manny Onariase for Will Boyle in defence.
Danny Wright and Jerell Sellars also came in for Brian Graham and Kyle Storer while another new signing in Sanmi Odelusi started on the bench against his old club.
Colchester United had the ball in the net after two minutes but it was ruled out for a foul on Onariase in the build-up, who was clearly pushed in the back.
Mo Eisa had Cheltenham’s first shot, firing high over the bar following good battling from Danny Wright in the seventh minute.
Soon after the U’s had a great chance to open the scoring after the visitors failed to clear a corner but Scott Flinders blocked Frankie Kent’s shot with his legs.
Dangerous full-back Ryan Jackson was causing problems down the right hand side and after shrugging off Sellars his low driven cross flashed across the face of goal, before taking aim from long range with an off target attempt.
After a quiet 15 minute spell the game sprang into life as Kurtis Guthrie scored with from 30 yards out with a well struck attempt that Flinders couldn’t quite keep out.
But despite being a goal up, Colchester were soon a man down as Kyel Reid was sent off for appearing to lash out at Joe Morrell, meaning the hosts had to play the entire second half with 10-men.
Sanmi Odelusi was introduced for Wright after the interval and just ten minutes into his Cheltenham debut the former U’s man equalised for the Robins.
Eisa drilled a shot from the far post across goal and after Sam Walker scrambled to keep the ball from crossing the line there was Odelusi to tap in amongst the confusion.
Just a minute later Carl Winchester slid the ball inches wide as Johnson’s side looked to make their numerical advantage count.
The ball then broke for Odelusi but Walker saved his shot before Morrell ran straight through the middle and forced the Colchester keeper to make another fine stop.
But the pressure eventually paid off as Sellars smashed a cross-shot over to the far post where Atangana was waiting to poke in his first Cheltenham goal in the 72nd minute.
With the freedom of the left hand side, Sellars then ran in to slot in a third with his first in Robins colours before Winchester picked out Eisa with a perfect pass, allowing the forward to finish coolly into the far corner as Cheltenham completed the league double over Colchester in style.
COLCHESTER UNITED (4-4-2): Walker, Jackson, Lapslie, Kent, Wright, Comley (Loft 69), Reid, Eastman, Mandron (Hanlan 74), Vincent-Young, Guthrie.
CHELTENHAM TOWN (4-4-2): Flinders, Grimes, Atangana, Dawson, Winchester, Wright (Odelusi 45), Eisa (Lloyd 89), Morrell, Moore, Sellars (Storer 90), Onariase.
REFEREE: S Oldham
ATTENDANCE: 2,886 (102 from Cheltenham)