Southend United succumbed to their first home defeat since the 2nd January as they went down 1-0 to Chesterfield.
A Lee Novak strike was enough to give the Spirerites all three points as he struck with a minute of normal time left in the game.
Phil Brown made three changes from the midweek draw with Crewe Alexandra; the most notable being the return of Blues Captain, John White after two months out with injury.
White came in for Adam Thompson, whilst Jack Payne and David Worrall came in for David Mooney and Sam McQueen respectively.
And it was Worrall who almost made the dream return to the side inside the opening two minutes.
Coker whipped an inviting cross in to the box which Worrall met with precision, beating Chesterfield keeper Tommy Lee all ends up, but not the post.
The ball then bounced out off the woodwork in to the path of the winger, but he could only find Lee’s clutches with the follow up.
Ollie Banks then went close to opening the scoring on 11’ drifting in from the right and looked to curl one in the bottom corner. Bentley sprung across well to save.
Blues enjoyed much of the opening exchanges, spreading the ball about well. The defence was prepared if called upon though; Bentley saving well from Novak on 23’.
Worrall could not make it past the half hour mark as he was forced off the field on 29’ with an impact injury to his right leg. A real shame for player and team given how well he started the match.
Possibly feeling the strain of losing Worrall, the Blues nearly found themselves behind on 31’. A Lee Novak header from an in swinging corner looked goalbound, but Bentley saved with precision.
The Spireites continued to test the palms of Bentley, Banks tried his luck on 43’ though Bentley provided the answer.
Wordsworth gave us the last chance of the half as the ball fell to him inside the box. His right-footed strike could only find Lee’s midriff.
Half-time: Southend United 0-0 Chesterfield
Payne nearly lit up the second period inside the opening sixty seconds. The playmaker picked up the ball from a short corner on the right, switched on to his left foot with a turn of pace before flashing his shot within a whisker.
Four minutes later, Chesterfield were going close at the other end. Banks fizzed in a cross, which John connected with but he shot over from six yards.
An almost identical opportunity presented itself to Tyrone Barnett on 56 minutes. Payne got to the ball to the by-line before teeing up the target man, but the striker got the ball stuck under his feet and couldn’t make a significant connection.
Barnett went even closer just past the hour-mark. Payne curled the ball in from the left which Barnett pounced upon with his head. Lee got down well to save to his left, and pounced on the loose ball before White could get there.
The game developed a sense of an end-to-end affair as both teams looked to snatch a late winner.
Barrett showed his experience on 83’ denying Novak a shot at goal with a superbly executed tackle in the box; and at that stage of the game, it had to be.
Roots Hall was in uproar as referee, Darren Drysdale waved away a potential penalty as Hird brought down Mooney in the box.
That would prove costly as in the 89th Minute, Novak was played through to slot home the winner and leave Southend with the bitter sting of defeat.
Southend United: Bentley, White ©, Barrett, Bolger, Coker, Worrall (Hunt 29’), Deegan, Atkinson (McQueen 65’), Wordsworth, Payne (Mooney 79’), Barnett.
Subs: Thompson, Timlin, Mooney, Smith, Hunt, McQueen, Loza.
Chesterfield: Lee, Hird, Novak, O’Neil, Damaio, Donohue, Anderson, Banks, Ariyibi, Liddle ©, John.
Subs: Gardner, Ebanks-Blake, O’Shea, Chapman, Simons, Talbot, Slew.
Attendance: 7,518 (375 Visitors)