Exeter manager Matt Taylor could not hide his delight after his team smashed Colchester 6-1 at St James Park, with Ryan Bowman scoring a second-half hat-trick.
The dominant Grecians only led 1-0 at the break, through Matt Jay’s clever finish, but they ran riot in the second half, with Joel Randall making it 2-0 eight minutes after the interval.
Bowman bagged a hat-trick and Jay also notched again late on as Exeter scored six goals for the first time since November 1993. Michael Folivi had made it 4-1, but Colchester were well beaten.
“I am obviously delighted, we got our rewards tonight,” Taylor said. “The performance was exactly where we wanted it to be for the whole 90 minutes in terms of our consistency and our aggression and being at home and playing on the front foot.
“It forced the opposition to make changes and chase the game and we capitalised on that. It is something we have not had the opportunity to do enough of this season.
“We were great in terms of increasing the lead and then increasing it further and staying on top and, like I say, when the opposition have to change, they have to sacrifice something and we certainly made the most of that.
“We have been good in patches this season and then had the opportunities to be better and we have not quite taken them and then the context of the game changes. But tonight, we scored, we scored again and then again and again and again.
“Goals change games. They change the way everyone feels and the confidence within the group and give you more belief. But I can’t underestimate the point of having to make the opposition make changes.”
Colchester manager Steve Ball criticised his players.
He said: “I changed the shape four times, it is not shape. It is a lack of desire to do the fundamentals of the football game which is defend properly and show a level of desire to want to get back behind the ball and do your defensive job from top to bottom of the team.
“I don’t want anyone telling me about shape, it is about a hunger to do the job.
“I had to change the pattern – we had no joy at 4-3-3, no joy at 3-4-1-2, no joy at 3-4-3 and went back to 4-4-2.
“I tried everything tonight, I shouldn’t need to do that. I need to go away and watch everything back very closely and look at some really disappointing levels of wanting to do their jobs tonight, which is really poor.
“It is football, we have done this to teams, teams have done it to us. It happens, hopefully very rarely. I can’t put my finger on it. We prepared excellently for it and we came off the back of a good point against Mansfield.”