Blues pulled off their best away performance of the season by dispatching Bradford City 4-0 at the Northern Commercials Stadium.
Southend got off to the perfect start when Simon Cox curled the ball into the back of the net with the outside of his boot inside 75 seconds to stun the home side.
That was the first goal Bradford had conceded at home since November and the second wasn’t far behind when Sam Mantom scored an equally spectacular goal midway through the first-half.
Nathan Bishop pulled off a remarkable reaction save to prevent George Miller halving Southend’s lead before debutant Stephen Humphrys capitalised on a mistake at the back to seal the points.
Pushing for a fourth, Blues had a strong shout for a penalty for a foul on Michael Turner waved away before Humphrys rounded off a debut to remember with a brilliant fourth.
There aren’t many words to describe how much of a turnaround in fortunes this was following last weekend’s loss at home to Plymouth Argyle, but the 4-0 scoreline didn’t flatter the visitors who had been much the better side from the get-go.
Chris Powell had been crying out for some new faces in his squad and this week Blues picked up two new signings with Sam Hart and Stephen Humphrys coming in, and both went straight into the starting line up as part of four changes for Southend.
Bradford themselves made two changes and they were defending an impressive recent home record having won their last four matches at the Northern Commercials Stadium, not conceding a goal on home soil since November.
But almost immediately Blues ended that run of home clean sheets by scoring within 75 seconds with a superbly taken goal by Simon Cox. A long ball forward fell kindly to the striker who arched the ball beyond Richard O’Donnell with the outside of his foot to give Southend the perfect start.
With the return of Taylor Moore and the arrival of Hart, Blues had reverted to their 3-5-2 formation which had brought them a lot of success earlier in the season and they looked a completely different side to that that lost disappointingly to Plymouth last weekend.
Bradford looked almost stunned after going down so early and they were left scratching their heads when Southend scored an excellent second through Sam Mantom. The skipper picked the ball up on the edge of the area before curling a beautiful strike into the bottom corner to double Blues’ lead.
Frustrations were starting to show from the home side and Southend could have gone into the break even further in front with new-boy Humphrys forcing a smart save from O’Donnell with a low strike before former Bantam Timothee Dieng made O’Donnell tip away his long-range effort.
Presumably having received a rollicking from manager Dave Hopkin at half-time, Bradford started brightly in the second-half and went close to halving the deficit when George Miller’s header from close range was stopped by a remarkable reaction save from Nathan Bishop.
Bradford’s bright start though was cut short after an error at the back by the Bantams skipper Anthony O’Connor led to Southend extending their lead and gifting Humphrys a goal that his debut had arguably deserved.
O’Connor’s backwards header was way too short for goalkeeper O’Donnell, landing into the path of Humphrys who accepted the gift by rounding the keeper and calmly scoring on his debut to make it 3-0 to Blues.
Southend were in dreamland while nothing was going right for the home side who had a Hope Akpan goal ruled out for offside, although they were quite fortunate to get away with a penalty shout when Michael Turner was hauled down inside the area as Blues pushed for a fourth.
In the end though Blues would grab that fourth goal, with Humphrys marking a memorable debut by cutting onto his left foot and curling the ball beyond the despairing dive of O’Donnell, sparking the Bradford fans to head for the exits as Blues romped to a deserved three points.
Bradford City XI: O’Donnell, McGowan, A O’Connor (C)(Wood 66’), Doyle (Anderson 86’), Payne, Miller (Colville 76’), Akpan, Knight-Percival, Caddis, O’Brien, Ball. Subs Not Used: Wilson, P O’Connor, Devine, Ellington
Blues XI: Bishop, Bwomono, Hyam, Turner, Dieng, Cox (Kelman 86’), Mantom (C)(Yearwood 81’), Moore, Humphrys (Robinson 76’), Hart, White. Subs Not Used: Smith, Kightly, McLaughlin, Hendrie
Referee: Michael Salisbury
Assistants: Geoffrey Liddle & Stephen Wade
Fourth Official: Nik Barnard
Bradford City: None
Southend United: Simon Cox 2’, Sam Mantom 26’, Stephen Humphrys 54’, 73’
Bradford City: Eoin Doyle 36’
Southend United: Sam Hart 29’, Sam Mantom 30’