Goals from Scott Wiseman, Alan Browne, Paul Gallagher and Chris Humphrey gave North End a 4-2 win, despite the visitors scoring twice before the break through Rhys Healey and Alex Gilbey.
The first half saw both sides trade a brace of goals, Healey poking home the first, before Wiseman scored his first in a lilywhite shirt to level matters.
Browne then put North End ahead after Chris Humphrey had forced Tom Eastman into a mistake, before Gilbey levelled matters with a 25 yard drive into the top left hand corner.
It took just 90 seconds of the second half for Gallagher to put North End back in front from 25 yards and then before the hour mark Chris Humphrey made it four after racing through onto Gallagher’s superbly weighted through ball and that was enough to give the Lilywhites another valuable three points.
Manager Simon Grayson had kept the same starting line-up that were victorious against Coventry the previous week, however, he was forced into two changes on the bench with Scott Laird and Calum Woods ruled out; Paul Huntington and Jack Ryan, his first inclusion, filling the last two substitute spots.
North End almost got off to a fantastic start after only 90 seconds, some slick passing seeing the ball played through to Joe Garner 35 yards out. He slid it in to Paul Gallagher, unmarked, and he beat Sam Walker, but side footed the ball wide of the right hand post.
It had been a great opening five minutes from PNE, on the front foot, keeping the ball and making space, however, the visitors then came into the game and it was the U’s who broke the deadlock.
There were 16 minutes on the clock when Rhys Healey poked home after Gavin Massey’s shot took a deflection, hit Jamie Jones on the legs and came out to the on loan Cardiff City man. He seemed in an offside position, but the linesman’s flag did not go up as the ball hit the net.
North End were level within five minutes. Scott Wiseman picked up the ball up on the right, 40 yards out. He danced past three men with real pace and purpose before driving a shot from just inside the right hand corner of the box and into the bottom left hand corner of the goal to become the 11th different scorer for PNE this season.
And they were ahead after only 25 minutes. A long ball was won by Joe Garner in the air; he headed it down and Chris Humphrey pressurised Frankie Kent, the ball ricocheting to Alan Browne who drove a shot that came off Walker and into the left hand corner of the goal.
The visitors weren’t going to lie down and just after the half hour mark Jones saved with his legs from Sanchez Watt’s header after Colchester’s skipper Clohessy overlapped and crossed down the right.
Tony Humes’s side drew level with seven minutes left in the half. Alex Gilbey fired from 25 yards into the top left hand corner after ball worked back from the right hand side again by Clohessy.
It wasn’t the end of the action in the half, as with three minutes to go top scorer Garner fired a shot just wide of the left hand upright after Gallagher and Josh Brownhill couldn’t quite get the ball under control in the box.
It took just 90 seconds of the second half for North End to go back in front. Paul Gallagher picked it up 30 yards out, took two steps forward and drove the ball along the floor into the bottom left hand corner.
There was almost an immediate response as George Moncur broke down the right hand side and the North End defence just backed off and allowed him to get all the way to the box before dragging his shot wide of the left hand Town End post.
Joe Garner then hit the outside of the post from 30 yards as the opening six minutes of the half began how the first had ended, end-to-end.
Before the hour mark it was 4-2. This time some good reading of a counter-attack from Colchester United saw skipper Tom Clarke intercept and play the ball into Gallagher, he perfectly weighted a through ball to Chris Humphrey who raced away from Kent and beat Walker and tapped it into the empty net.
Joe Garner then headed against the bar from substitute Kyel Reid’s cross as the Lilywhites pressed for further goals. Reid then showed a clean pair of heels to Clohessy before Eastman cut out his pull back before Humphrey could add another. From the resulting corner Tom Clarke saw Watt make a fine block on a low shot.
Callum Robinson also joined the action and saw a driven shot deflected just past Sam Walker’s left hand post with just under 20 minutes still on clock, before then racing 50 yards and curling another shot that beat Walker all ends up, but smashed back off the cross bar.
The visitors had a goal ruled out for offside with six minutes left, Sears’ deflected shot poked home by Watt only for the assistant’s flag to go straight up.
The visitors didn’t give up though and Freddie Sears forced Jones into a fingertip stop with a fizzing effort from 20 yards and then Gilbey also stung the gloves of the stopper with a close range effort as the game entered the final five minutes.
There was even time for Jack Ryan to make his North End debut, replacing Joe Garner in the first of the three added minutes as North End played out their third straight win.
PNE line-up: Jones, Wiseman, B uchanan, Kilkenny, Clarke (c), Wright, Humphrey (Robinson, 68), Browne, Garner (Ryan, 90), Brownhill (Reid, 58), Gallagher. Subs not used: Stuckmann, Welsh, King, Hayhurst.
Colchester United line-up: Walker, Gordon, Watt, Gilbey, Sears, Eastman, Healey (Dr Wright, 66), Clohessy (c), Massey, Moncur, Kent. Subs not used: Lewington, Da Wright, Eastmond, Lawrence, Bonne, Lapslie.
Attendance: 8,478 (133 away fans)
Referee: Mr S Martin