Southend United secured a comfortable 4-1 victory away to Torquay United at Plainmoor Ground this afternoon.
The victory ended the Gulls’ unbeaten home record in the league this season with Gavin Tomlin and a Britt Assombalonga double giving Blues the lead at half time.
Tomlin scored his second of the match straight after the restart securing all three points for Southend before Ryan Jarvis pulled a goal back for the home side.
Torquay then had to play over half hour with 10 men after captain Lee Mansell was sent off for a rash tackle on Britt Assombalonga.
Blues had the first shot of the game in the third minute with Kevan Hurst trying his luck with a long range free-kick which fizzed past Martin Rice’s right hand post.
The home side replied with former Southend United captain Craig Easton slashing a shot high and wide of the goal from 25 yards out.
With 10 minutes gone Blues took the lead through Tomlin after the striker’s clever play gave him the chance in front of goal.
After receiving the ball inside the penalty box with his back to goal, the former Gulls player superbly turned Kevin Nicholson before slotting the ball home past the helpless Rice in goal from 12 yards out.
Hurst had another opportunity from a set piece, stinging the palms of the keeper as the midfielder tried to sneak the ball in at the front post.
Southend looked for their second goal through Marc Laird who fired a right footed shot towards goal which the busy Price dealt with comfortable as the home side struggled to create any chances.
Minutes later Assombalonga’s effort skidded narrowly past the post from 18 yards with the home side unable to deal with the striker’s pace.
Torquay nearly equalised in the 36th minute through Nathan Craig’s deflected free kick which cannoned off the head of Michael Timlin and bounced off the top of the cross bar before Blues managed to clear the ball to safety.
On the counter attack Southend doubled their lead through Assombalonga after Tomlin found his striker partner with a smart through ball.
The young striker took his goal tally into double figures, with his effort at goal taking a wicked deflection off Joe Oastler sending the keeper the wrong way.
On the stroke of half time Assombalonga got his second goal of the game after an excellent whipped cross from Hurst on the right hand side found the unmarked striker at the back post who simply nodded the ball into an empty net sending the away support into raptures.
Southend continued the second half how they finished the first with Tomlin also scoring his second goal of the game in the 47th minute rounding the keeper superbly.
Confusion between Aaron Downes and Rice in goal following Timlin’s through ball gave the striker the opportunity to round the keeper before calmly tapping the ball into the empty net.
The home side pulled a goal back in the 51st minute through half time substitute Jarvis who volleyed the ball past Paul Smith after an excellent cross from Niall Thompson found the striker unmarked as the two replacements combined.
It went from bad to worse for the home side in the 57th minute as captain Mansell was sent off for a late challenge on Assombalonga in the middle of the park giving the referee no option but to brandish the red card.
With 74 minutes gone substitute Barry Corr had an excellent chance to extend Blues’ lead after Sean Clohessy’s pinpoint diagonal ball found the striker who saw his downward header saved comfortably by Rice.
Southend comfortable held on for the three points, continuing their unbeaten run to five games.