Report: Southend 3-0 Chesterfield
Southend United beat promotion rivals Chesterfield 3-0 at Roots Hall to make it seven games unbeaten, with just one defeat in their last 15.
The home side took the lead through Kevan Hurst's 10th goal of the season before two goals in the space of two second half minutes secured Southend victory.
Stand in captain Ryan Leonard doubled the advantage before Barry Corr secured victory on the hour mark with a well taken finish.
Daniel Bentley was superb again in between the sticks with the young goalkeeper denying Marc Richards from the spot.
Blues had the first real chance of the game in the fifth minute after new loan signing Luke O'Neill whipped a dangerous right wing cross into the box which Corr headed wide from a tight angle at the back post.
It was a tight affair at Roots Hall with both teams cancelling each other out, Chesterfield registered their first shot on target in the 18th minute after Richards' clever flick found Jimmy Ryan whose tame effort was comfortably saved by Bentley in the Southend goal.
Blues took the lead in the 28th minute with Hurst taking his season tally to double figures with the simplest of finished less than six yards out.
A superb cross field pass from O'Neill found Straker on the left as the midfielder comfortably glided past Drew Talbot before teeing up Hurst in the box who slotted the ball home into an empty net.
With half time approaching Jay O'Shea tried his luck from distance with a right footed drive which sailed over Bentley's crossbar giving the goalkeeper nothing to worry about.
It was Blues who had the last chance of the half with Straker firing a low effort from 25 yards out which went agonisingly wide of the post with Tommy Lee sprawling across the goal.
The game became scrappy in the second half but it was Southend who looked most dangerous on the attack with Hurst cutting in from the left before dragging his effort just wide of the front post with the keeper unsighted by a number of bodies in the box.
Blues doubled their advantage in the 59th minute after a superb interchange between Leonard and Michael Timlin in the middle of park gave Leonard a clear sight at goal as the midfielder cooly placed the ball past the on rushing Lee in goal for the away side.
Chesterfield were rocked and with less than a minute gone after the second goal was scored they conceded once again after substitute Adam Thompson played a long ball over the top which Corr calmly controlled before lofting the ball over the helpless Lee sending the Roots Hall faithful into raptures.
Chesterfield were given a lifeline in the 69th minute after Hurst was adjudged to have brought down Gary Roberts in the box giving Richards the opportunity from 12 yards out.
The striker stepped up confidently but was denied by a superb save from Bentley as the keeper got down low to his right, tipping the ball round the post as Blues kept hold of their three goal advantage.
Bentley continued to shine in goal for Southend, pulling off another great save denying Dan Gardner's right footed volley which looked like it was going to nestle into the top corner.
Southend secured all three points, moving up to fourth in the Sky Bet a League Two table with Premiership side Hull City next to visit Roots Hall in the FA Cup Fourth Round.
Southend United - Bentley, Coker, Phillips, Prosser, O'Neill (Thompson 44), Timlin (Eastwood 81) Atkinson, Leonard, Hurst, Straker (Woodrow 74) Corr (subs) Smith, Laird, Eastwood, Clifford, Payne, Thompson, Woodrow
Chesterfield - Lee, Banks (Gardner 63), Smith, Morsy, Cooper, Evatt, Talbot, Ryan, Roberts, O'Shea (Gnanduillet 57) Richards( Doyle 74) (subs) Hird, Doyle, Gnanduillet, Brown, Gardner, Dunbavin