Timlin goal enough to earn a crucial win for Blues against the Hatters.
Michael Timlin’s late strike saw Blues gatecrash the automatic promotion places with just one game of the League Two season remaining.
There was only one change from the Blues side that won a crucial promotion clash with Bury at Gigg Lane on Tuesday night, with goalscorer David Worrall replacing Stephen McLaughlin.
Luton had a chance to take the lead within the opening 90 seconds of the game, but after some smart movement, Elliot Lee’s snapshot only clattered the stanchion behind Dan Bentley’s goal.
After just 20 minutes, Cameron McGeehan was withdrawn by visiting manager John Still in favour of Shaun Whalley, after the on-loan Norwich City youngster picked up an arm injury.
Blues tested Luton stopper Elliot Justham for the first time in the 20th minute, when Will Atkinson’s low ball in was flicked towards goal by Jake Cassidy. Justham reacted quickly to drop low at his near post and prevent Cassidy breaking the deadlock.
Atkinson was involved again just six minutes later, when an adventurous pass set Michael Timlin free on the right wing. The midfielder made good progress before darting inside and floating an inviting ball towards Barry Corr. However, Justham was equal to Corr’s headed attempt at the far post.
Cassidy tested Justham once again on the half-hour mark, stinging the palms of the Hatters stopper, who was able to keep hold of the Blues forward’s attempt.
Some clever play from Mark Cullen and West Ham United loanee Elliot Lee then created an opening for the Hatters, but Adam Barrett charged across to snuff out the danger in front of goal.
Luke Wilkinson went into the book on the brink of half-time for a foul on Corr, after the Irish frontman was brought down after knocking the ball past the Luton man.
There was time for one more attempt before the interval, but Worrall’s low attempt rolled wide of goal after the winger darted in from the left flank.
Nathan Doyle went straight into the book at the start of the second half, after showing dissent after a free-kick was awarded to Blues.
Luton continued to defend resolutely, as a Barrett volley from a corner sent in by Atkinson was blocked out by a crowd of orange shirts.
Timlin then sprayed the ball out to Coker on the left-hand side, with the Blues defender cutting onto his right foot before firing a curling effort over Justham’s goal.
Coker then whipped in a low ball across the six-yard box, but Cassidy’s poked attempt failed to find the target.
Another cross, this time by Timlin, followed soon after, but Cassidy missed his header before the ball ballooned over the Luton goal off of the right foot of Corr.
Blues continued to exploit the left flank, with Worrall this time swinging in a ball, only for Barrett to head harmlessly over the Luton goal.
Jake Cassidy was then replaced by Jack Payne, before a surging run from Ryan Leonard in the right channel provided a fizzing cross that narrowly missed the head of a diving Corr.
Luton boss Still then sent on former Blues midfielder Luke Guttridge in place of Elliot Lee.
Blues were reduced to ten men in the 67th minute, when Luton substitute Whalley went to ground after tangling with Coker. The foul was given by linesman Ashvin Degnarain, with referee Williamson giving Coker his marching orders.
Phil Brown sent on Luke Prosser to shore up the Blues defence, with Will Atkinson making way shortly before Cian Bolger found himself yellow carded after a foul.
Another yellow card quickly followed, as Gary Deegan was cautioned for a foul on the edge of the centre-circle.
Guttridge threatened to break the deadlock for the visitors in the 72nd minute, when his curling left-footed strike flashed just wide of Bentley’s goal.
Blues then tested Justham at the other end, with Corr letting fly from 25 yards, only for the Luton keeper to parry and then gather at the second attempt.
Corr then brought the ball down for Barrett, whose volley flew straight into the arms of Justham.
Whalley then led a dangerous break-out for the visitors, before cutting inside and rifling an attempt at the Southend goal. Bentley parried the ball into the air, before gathering at the second attempt.
Blues then made the breakthrough in bizarre fashion, after a long-range attempt from Timlin squirmed through the legs of Justham in the Luton goal and rolled over the lines.
Just nine minutes remained, and Blues boss Brown brought on Myles Weston in place of Payne, who had replaced Cassidy in the 62nd minute.
Luton boss Still also made a change, withdrawing Scott Griffiths in order to bring on Alex Wall.
Blues, with only ten men, continued to put on a resolute defensive display under pressure from the visitors, roared on by a rocking Roots Hall crowd of 10,730.
There were five minutes of added time, but Southend stood firm to hold on to all three points.
A 1-0 defeat for Wycombe Wanderers at home to Morecambe meant that Blues gatecrashed the automatic promotion places ahead of a final day trip to Morecambe.
SOUTHEND UNITED: Bentley; Leonard, Bolger, Barrett, Coker; Atkinson (Prosser - 70’), Deegan, Timlin, Worrall; Cassidy (Payne - 62’ / Weston ), Corr.
Unused Subs: T. Smith, Hurst, McLaughlin, Pigott.