Blues’ winless run continued as they fell to a 2-1 defeat against Charlton Athletic at The Valley, despite a late fightback.
After a goalless first half in which neither side created anything clear-cut, the Addicks scored twice in three minutes to give themselves a two-goal lead midway through the second half.
The home side opened the scoring when Josh Magennis powered a header beyond Mark Oxley with Ricky Holmes doubling Charlton’s lead with a delightful curling effort moments later.
Southend looked down and out until the final 10-minutes when John White headed them back into the game with a near-post header, beating his marker to score from Michael Timlin’s corner.
But despite piling on the pressure late on, Phil Brown’s side wasn't able to find a way beyond Amos for a second time as Charlton climbed to second in the table.
Following last weekend’s stalemate against Rochdale, Phil Brown made three changes to his Blues side as they made the short journey to in-form Charlton Athletic.
Anton Ferdinand and John White returned to the back-line whilst Nile Ranger come in for his first start of the season to partner Simon Cox up front.
Charlton had only lost one of their opening league games so far and went into the game sitting just a point off top spot, but it was the Blues that started the brighter of the two.
Michael Kightly had a good shooting chance present itself when he was teed up by Jermaine McGlashan, only to strike the ball against his standing leg and go harmlessly wide.
Minutes later and Blues won themselves a corner after Charlton failed to clear Ryan Leonard rose highest to reach the second ball only to head over the crossbar from inside the six-yard box.
Southend’s best chance though fell to the returning Ranger, as he and Cox raced forward the ball fell kindly to the Blues number 50 12-yards out but he dragged his shot wide on Ben Amos’ goal.
The home side had to wait until almost the half-hour mark to force a save from Mark Oxley with Ahmed Kashi’s long-range effort stinging the palms of the Blues’ stopper.
Jason Pearce had a good opportunity for the Addicks when the ball fell to him on the edge of the area only for him to drag wide, with Josh Magennis’ header easily saved by Oxley seconds later.
The pendulum kept swinging one way and then the other in the first half with Southend going back on the front foot with an incisive pass from Michael Timlin picking out Cox whose shot was blocked.
Momentum would then swing the other way as Charlton came closest to opening the scoring before the break as Billy Clarke’s shot from the edge of the area zipped inches past Oxley’s left-hand post.
Southend went close to breaking the deadlock early in the second half when Cox was played in on the edge of the area by Timlin only for the striker to blaze over inside the first minute.
From that point on it though it was Charlton who looked the most threatening and after Jake-Forster Caskey and Magennis missed good chances in front of goal, the latter finally broke the deadlock.
Magennis, who’d just returned from international duty with Northern Ireland earlier in the week, was picked out by the cross of Chris Solly and scored with a bullet header to make it 1-0.
The Valley was rocking after Magennis’ opener and they stamped home their authority less than three minutes later when they doubled their lead through Ricky Holmes.
Receiving the ball with his back to goal, the Charlton midfielder spun to create enough space for the strike, bending the ball beautifully beyond the despairing dive of Oxley to double Charlton’s lead.
Blues’ 21-year wait for a victory over Charlton looked all but over, but they kept their hopes alive of at least snatching a point from The Valley as John White got Southend back in the game.
The centre-back stole a march on his marker to get on the end of Timlin’s near-post corner, flicking his header past Amos for his first goal for the club since scoring at The Valley last season.
Southend had just over 10 minutes to nick a point from the jaws of defeat and came close when Elvis Bwomono’s perfect cross fell for Leonard but he couldn’t beat an army of red shirts on the line.
Five minutes of injury time were shown as Blues desperately went in search of an equaliser but they weren’t able to breach the Charlton defence for a second time as they claimed all three points.
Charlton XI: Amos, Kashi, Bauer, Pearce, Magennis, Clarke, Holmes (Joe Dodoo 86’), Fosu (Ezri Konsa 89’), Forster-Caskey, Solly (C), Dasilva. Subs Not Used: Phillips, Jackson, Aribo, Sarr, Hackett-Fairchild
Blues XI: Oxley, Hendrie (Demetriou 75’), Ferdinand (C), Kightly, Timlin, Cox (Robinson 75’), McGlashan (McLaughlin 61’), Leonard, Bwomono, White, Ranger. Subs Not Used: Smith, Fortune, Yearwood, Kyprianou
Referee: Gavin Ward
Assistants: Stuart Butler & Andrew Laver
Fourth Official: Ryan Atkin
Charlton Athletic: Josh Magennis 65’, Ricky Holmes 68’
Southend United: John White 79’
Charlton Athletic: Ricky Holmes 52’, Billy Clarke 84’
Southend United: Jermaine McGlashan 43’, Michael Kightly 85’