REPORT | Southend United 1-0 Chesterfield
Southend maintained their superb form at Roots Hall in recent weeks with a 1-0 win over Chesterfield.
It was the perfect response from Phil Brown's side who in truth should have made the afternoon a whole lot more comfortable.
But, in the end, it was Adam Thompson's first-half strike which was the difference to lift Blues out of the relegation zone and into 19th in the table.
Phil Brown made five changes to the side that lost to Rochdale which included a home debut for Nile Ranger alongside Simon Cox in attack.
It took until ten minutes in for either side to get forward with any sort of conviction. A nice move from back to front resulted in a Jason Demetriou looking for Ranger at the back post which Ryan Fulton reached out to claim.
The aerial route was again the ploy from Ryan Leonard's long throw which Anton Ferdinand flicked on to Cox, but Fulton comfortably stopped it sneaking in.
Cox's eyes lit up moments later when space on the edge of the box allowed for a shot, but it was deflected wide for a corner.
Chesterfield were yet to create anything promising or cause Blues any problems half an hour into the match when Blues finally had something to show for their dominance.
A corner from the left was cleared to Wordsworth whose cross-cum-shot was deflected into the path of Thomspon and the defender expertly controlled a strike into the roof of the net from 12 yards out.
Ranger then headed over from close range before the Spireites went agonisingly close to drawing level. Kristian Dennis raced through but Mark Oxley did enough to deflect the ball behind.
A great move from Blues five minutes before the break, including some great hold-up play from Ranger, saw Blues cut through Chesterfield but Wordsworth shot just wide with the help of a deflection.
The duo linked up again from a free-kick with Ranger heading over, but striker's influence was clear to see once again in what was a dominant first half display.
Half Time: Blues 1-0 Chesterfield
Chesterfield began the second half a lot brighter but it was Ranger who went closest to adding a second for Blues. His shot from 20 yards out was dragged wide of the left post
A double substitution from Spireites boss Danny Wilson injected some pace into their game via the introduction of Reece Mitchell on the left and Ricky German up front.
Phil Brown responded with a sub of his own - Jermaine McGlashan taking Stephen McLaughlin's place.
McGlashan was straight into the action with a wonderful touch past his full back to force a corner, which eventually came to nothing, before going past his man at ease minutes later and setting up Ranger for a spectacular volley which flew just over.
A great chance presented Cox the opportunity to get on the scoresheet and double Blues' lead. One-on-one with the defender he faked left to go right and try and slot it past Fulton, but it was blocked and then Wordsworth followed up but his effort was blocked.
Chesterfield went up the other end and should have equalised, but Thompson was in the right place to head a close-range shot off the line.
Ranger departed to a standing ovation after 77 minutes with Marc-Antoine Fortune coming for him. The Southend faithful were clearly very pleased with their first look at the summer arrival.
Fortune should have wrapped things up but, with Wordsworth running behind him, he decided to dummy it and the chance went begging.
It was a nervy end to the day and after six minutes of stoppage time to see through, Blues held on for a vital three points.
SOUTHEND XI | Oxley, Demetriou, Thompson, Ferdinand, Coker, Atkinson, Wordsworth, Leonard, McLaughlin, Cox, Ranger.
SUBS | Smith, White, Mooney, Fortune, King, McGlashan, Inniss.
CHESTERFIELD XI | Fulton, Hird, Liddle, O'Neil, Nolan, Donohue, Dennis, Anderson, Wilkinson, O'Shea, Ariyibi.
SUBS | Evatt, Gardner, Mitchell, Dimaio, Allinson, Graham, German.
ATTENDANCE | 6,284