Southend United scored three in a game for the first time this season as they beat Mansfield Town at Roots Hall on Friday evening.
The first half was filled with drama with both teams having James Alabi and Connor Clifford sent off for two separate tackles.
Anthony Straker gave Blues the lead before a bizarre own goal doubled Southend’s advantage.
Mansfield were reduced to nine men with minutes remaining as Lee Beevers was shown a second yellow card before Kevan Hurst secured all three points with the last kick of the game.
Blues started off strongly with Clifford testing Alan Marriott with only two minutes gone, the midfielder’s low drive from 18 yards was saved smartly by the Mansfield keeper.
Southend were inches away from taking the lead in the 10th minute after Straker’s cute left wing cross was met by the head of Will Atkinson who headed narrowly wide from 12 yards.
Another glorious chance went Southend’s way with Hurst somehow missing the target from close range after cutting inside on the right before firing horribly over the bar.
The Stags nearly took a surprise lead in the 14th minute after Calvin Andrew picked the ball up from distance before firing a superb left footed effort wide of Daniel Bentley’s right hand post.
The Shrimpers continued to press but to no avail with Ryan Leonard the next Blues player to test Marriott in the Mansfield goal.
Hurst’s low cross was pin-balled inside the box before falling to Leonard whose side footed effort was comfortably saved.
Southend’s persistence paid off in the 24th minute with Straker finding the back of the net from close range.
Barry Corr turned superbly on the wing before teeing up Hurst who delivered a pinpoint cross into the path of Straker who tucked the ball home from a matter of yards out.
Things went from bad to worse for Mansfield after debutant Alabi was shown a straight red card just after the half hour mark following a collision with Luke Prosser.
The referee continued to be harsh on both sets of players with Clifford being shown a straight red card for a tackle on Andrew in the 40th minute.
Both players went for the ball in a whole heartedly challenge but the referee deemed the tackle a sending off offence much to the despair of the crowd.
Southend doubled their lead in the 43rd minute in bizarre fashion after Leonard’s right wing cross came off the head of McGuire before looping into the hands of Marriott, the goalkeeper was over his own goal line with the linesman signalling for a goal to the Blues.
Southend went in at the break with the two goal advantage and they nearly extended it in the 53rd minute after Ben Coker attempted to replicate his goal against Newport with a dangerous set piece which Marriott parried to safety.
Mansfield made some substitutions as they attempted to find their way back into the game with Sam Clucas stinging the gloves of Bentley with a rasping left footed volley which the keeper dealt with well.
Southend continued to play fluent passing football which was too much for Mansfield and in the 90th minute they were reduced to nine men after Beevers’ received a second yellow card for obstruction on Will Atkinson.
Hurst secured all three points with the last kick of the game after his long range shot somehow squirmed in past the goalkeeper giving Southend the victory.
Southend United – Bentley, Leonard, White, Prosse (Kiernan 78), Coker, Straker (Laird 80), Timlin, Atkinson, Clifford, Hurst, Corr (subs) Smith, Laird, Reid, Kiernan, Payne, Auger, Woodrow
Mansfield Town – Marriott, Sutton, McCombe, Beevers, Hutchinson (Clucas 45), McQuire, Andrew (Rhead 45) , Blake, Pilkington, Alabi, Daniel (Meikle 62) (subs) Murtagh, Stevenson, Clucas, Rhead, Jennings, Meikle, Palmer