JOSH Grant and Antoni Sarcevic returned from injury as Argyle sought to end Colchester United's long unbeaten home Sky Bet League Two record.
Grant replaced Gary Sawyer in the left of the three centre-back roles, the Argyle skipper sitting out the first game of a three-match suspension after being sent off a week earlier at home to Newport County, while Sarcevic came back into midfield instead of Conor Grant.
Sarcevic captained the third-placed Pilgrims on their visit to the Jobserve Community Stadium, where Colchester last previously tasted defeat in mid-October. Since then, they have won five and drawn three of their eight matches to reach sixth position.
The Argyle attack was led by Ryan Hardie and Luke Jephcott, the latter having won two League Two Player of the Month awards for January in the build-up to the game, from the Sky Bet League and the Professional Footballers' Association.
Former Colchester United midfielder Joe Edwards was named on a strong Argyle substitutes' bench, alongside Callum McFadzean.
Argyle defender Tafari Moore, on loan at Colchester, was not included in the United squad, nor was injured ex-Pilgrim Paris Cowan-Hall.
Colchester United (4-5-1): 1 Dean Gerken; 2 Ryan Jackson, 18 Tom Eastman, 5 Luke Prosser, 3 Cohen Bramall; 45 Frank Nouble, 8 Harry Pell, 24 Ben Stevenson, 14 Brandon Comley, 15 Callum Harriott; 13 Theo Robinson. Substitutes: 6 Omar Sowunmi, 7 Courtney Senior, 9 Luke Norris, 21 Ryan Clampin, 26 Luke Gambin, 29 Ethan Ross (gk), 49 Kwame Poku.
Argyle (3-5-2): 24 Alex Palmer; 5 Scott Wootton, 6 Niall Canavan, 25 Josh Grant; 17 Byron Moore, 7 Antoni Sarcevic (capt), 14 Tyreeq Bakinson, 10 Danny Mayor, 32 George Cooper; 18 Ryan Hardie, 31 Luke Jephcott. Substitutes: 1 Mike Cooper (gk), 8 Joe Edwards, 9 Ryan Taylor, 15 Conor Grant, 16 Joel Grant, 20 Adam Randell, 21 Callum McFadzean.