Late, late, late Michael Timlin goal seals the points for the Blues in Devon.
A dramatic late winner from Michael Timlin kept alive Southend United's automatic promotion hopes and made it five consecutive victories – and clean sheets – with a 1-0 win
Timlin struck one minute into the allocated four to win the game for the Blues after Jack Payne's pull back.
Blues boss Phil Brown made one change to his starting XI for the battle against the Grecians, with Ryan Leonard coming back into the side – and captaining the Blues – in place of the injured John White.
On the bench, Myles Weston took Leonard's vacant spot as a substitute.
It was an encouraging start from the hosts, and they went close to an opener in the early stages but Jimmy Keohane hit wide of the target following a neat move involving the Irishman and experienced striker Clinton Morrison.
Keohan went close again with 23 minutes gone. Matt Oakley reached the byline and picked the midfielder out, but the former Bristol City trainee flashed his shot wide.
Just before the half hour mark, Ryan Harley found some space before firing just over Bentley's upright, as the Blues struggled to get a foothold in the game.
Straight after the break and Joe Pigott had a terrific chance to break the deadline. A well worked move found Michael Timlin, and his looping cross found Pigott, but the Charlton Athletic loanee headed past the post, when he really should have tested Grecians goalkeeper Christy Pym.
At the other end, Keohane again tried his luck from distance and saw his drilled left-footed effort fizz just past Dan Bentley's left-hand post.
Adam Barrett headed over the bar from a Will Atkinson cross, before substitute Tom Nichols saw his powerful attempt held well by Bentley.
Brown made all three of his changes in mid-way through the half and one of them – Myles Weston – forced Pym into a great low stop to his right to tip the strike round the post.
And the latter stages were end-to-end, with Blues throwing balls into the box, before earning that bit of luck through Timlin's effort from close range.
Blues: Bentley; Leonard (c), Bolger, Barrett, Coker; Atkinson, Deegan, Timlin; McLaughlin (Payne, 61); Pigott (Corr, 61), Cassidy (Weston, 75)
Unused Substitutes: T. Smith, Worrall, Hurst, Binnom-Williams.