Southend were blown away by a rampant Rotherham United side at the AESSEAL New York Stadium losing 5-0 thanks to goals from Joe Newell, Ryan Williams and a hat-trick from Kieffer Moore.
Two goals in a minute set the tone for a miserable afternoon for Southend with Moore first getting on the end of a one-two to slot past Mark Oxley, before tapping home a Jamie Proctor low cross.
Joe Newell then made it three goals in eight minutes as he curled the ball in from the edge of the area before Moore completed his hat-trick in first half injury-time.
Southend had nothing but scraps to live off and forced a good double save from Richard O’Donnell, with Marc-Antoine Fortune and Michael Kightly being denied by the Rotherham number one.
And that was as good as it got for Blues as Moore got involved again, this time setting up Ryan Williams to smash the ball home from two-yards out to complete the rout.
It was such a contrast in performances compared to last weekend’s 2-1 win over Blackburn Rovers at Roots Hall, and it was no surprise when Phil Brown named an unchanged side from that win.
Rotherham began their campaign with a 2-0 defeat away at Fleetwood, and they made four changes with Ryan Williams, Joe Newell, Darren Potter and Kieffer Moore coming in.
And it was Moore who had the first chance for either side as Joe Newell’s free kick found the leap of Moore, with his header being tipped around the post by former Miller, Mark Oxley.
Southend were giving away a number of free-kicks early on and Rotherham came close again to opening to scoring from another Newell set-piece which was this time headed over by Semi Ajayi.
Blues hadn’t got going at all and Rotherham carved out a third chance and by far their best, when Lee Freckington picked out Jamie Proctor who headed over from eight-yards out.
Eventually, their pressure told and it was double trouble for Phil Brown’s side as the Millers scored twice in a minute to stamp home their early advantage, with Moore grabbing both.
The first came when Moore appeared to use his arms to charge down Stephen Hendrie’s clearance, before getting on the end of a one-two to slot the ball beyond Oxley and give the Millers the lead.
Within a minute, Moore doubled the home side’s advantage after he was found unmarked in the area by a low cross from Proctor, tapping home the Millers’ second of the game.
After two in quick succession, Southend’s abysmal half continued when Proctor teed up Newell who caressed the ball beautifully beyond Oxley from the edge of the area to make it three.
Southend had been second best through the first half, and a rampant Millers rubber stamped their authority over Blues when Moore rounded off a first-half hat-trick in injury time.
Blues had a mountain to climb but they almost grabbed a goal back early in the second half with Marc-Antoine Fortune and Michael Kightly having chances well saved by Richard O’Donnell.
It appeared though only to be a brief respite as Oxley was again called upon minutes later to save with his feet from Ryan Williams as the Blues back-line was cut upon once more.
Their stay of execution only lasted a few more minutes however as Rotherham extended their lead further before the hour mark with Moore once again involved, this time as provider.
Brown’s side simply didn’t know how to deal with the Ipswich-loanee and after he was found free on the right, his low cross was smashed home from close range by Williams.
With 20-minutes remaining Moore was replaced to a standing ovation by the New York Stadium crowd and his replacement David Ball almost made an immediate impact forcing a save from Oxley.
The defiant Blues fans behind goal kept on signing throughout but the Southend players couldn’t give them a goal to celebrate.
And the Blues' afternoon was summed up in the final minute of normal time as Fortune hit the post after being found unmarked in the area.
Rotherham XI: O’Donnell, Emmanuel, Mattock, Ajayi, Frecklington (C)(Will Vaulks 65’), Proctor, Potter, Ihiekwe, Newell, Williams (Anthony Forde 77’), Moore (Ball 71’). Subs Not Used: Bilboe, Ball, Taylor, Purrington, Yates
Blues XI: Oxley, Hendrie, Ferdinand (C)(McLaughlin 66’), Kightly, Timlin, Fortune, Cox (Robinson 59’), McGlashan (Kiernan 26’), Leonard, Demetriou, White. Subs Not Used: Smith, Ba, Yearwood, Kyprianou
Referee: M. Salisbury
Assistants: A. Newbold & P.Gooch
Fourth Official: M. Denton
Rotherham United: Kieffer Moore 15’, 16’, 45+2’, Joe Newell 23’, Ryan Williams 59’
Southend United: None
Rotherham United: Kieffer Moore 70’, Joe Newell 90'
Southend United: Simon Cox 43’