Southend failed to back up their victory against Bradford as they fell to a 2-0 defeat away at Luton Town thanks to goals from Elliot Lee and a Danny Hylton penalty.
The Hatters, who were in search of their first win since returning to League One, took the lead inside two minutes after Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu’s effort deflected kindly to Lee to smash home.
Blues responded well but were dominating possession without creating chances and they fell further behind before the interval when Hylton converted from the penalty spot after a foul on Lee.
Chris Powell brought on Theo Robinson and Shawn McCoulsky early in the second-half to try and manufacturer a comeback but it was to no avail with Luton looking the most likely to score again.
Mark Oxley had to make superb one-on-one stops to prevent efforts from Hylton and Andrew Shinnie extending the Hatters lead but they’d already done enough to claim the three points.
Defeat for Blues extended a miserable record for Southend at Kenilworth Road, having not won on any of their last 13 visits, with Blues’ winless run in Bedfordshire dating back to 1964.
In an attempt to make it 14th time lucky, Powell made just the one change from the weekend’s win over Bradford City, with Elvis Bwomono coming in for Michael Kightly, allowing Jason Demetriou to push forward into midfield.
The hosts, managed by former Chris Powell protegee Nathan Jones, made four changes as they went in search for their first win of the campaign following promotion last season and Luton made the ideal start by taking the lead through Elliot Lee inside two minutes.
There was a touch of fortune about the goal as Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu’s strike from the edge of the area fell kindly to Lee, via a couple of deflections, but the Luton number 10 made no mistake from close range to give Nathan Jones’ side an early lead.
Blues responded well to going a goal behind and were moving the ball around crisply, but despite dominating possession they weren’t able to carve out any meaningful attempts on James Shea’s goal to threaten an equaliser in the opening half.
Tom Hopper thought momentarily that he’d got Southend level midway through the first-half after he nodded in a looping cross from Elvis Bwomono but referee Trevor Kettle blew his whistle early for a foul by the Blues striker to rule it out.
Almost immediately after and Mark Oxley had to be on his toes to stop Jorge Grant from doubling the home side’s advantage after he was teed up by Jack Stacey, firing the ball towards goal only to see his effort tipped over the crossbar by the Blues number one.
But that lead was extended before the interval when Bwomono was adjudged to have brought Lee down inside the area to give Luton the chance to double their advantage from 12-yards. Danny Hylton duly obliged, sending Oxley the wrong way to send the Hatters into the break 2-0 up.
Luton looked to put the game to bed quickly in the second-half and had a glorious chance to extend their lead when Hylton was put clean through on goal. Oxley was quick to react to the danger and came flying off his line, preventing Hylton’s stabbed effort to keep the deficit to two.
With half an hour remaining, Chris Powell threw on Theo Robinson and Shawn McCoulsky and the four-pronged attack from Blues replicated the first-half in many ways, with Southend having a lot of possession without forcing Shea into action.
If anything, Luton continued to go close to a third goal of the game with Oxley having to be on his game to stop Lee at his near-post, before producing a second one-on-one save to prevent Andrew Shinnie after a James Justin through-ball sliced Blues open.
Backed by 916 away fans at Kenilworth Road, Southend never looked likely to nick one at the end and make a nervy finish to the game as the Hatters comfortably held on to secure their first win of the season.
Luton Town XI: Shea, Potts, Bradley, Pearson, Stacey, Hylton (Collins 90+2’), Lee (Cornick 83’), Shinnie, Rea, Mpanzu, Grant (Justin 73’). Subs Not Used: Stech, Jervis, Gambin, Sheehan
Blues XI: Oxley, Bwomono (McCoulsky 61’), Coker, Turner, Dieng (Hyam 46’), Hopper, Cox, McLaughlin (Robinson 61’), Mantom, Demetriou, White. Subs Not Used: Bishop, Kightly, Kyprianou, Hendrie
Referee: Trevor Kettle
Assistants: Paul Kelly & Stuart Butler
Fourth Official: Adrian Waters
Luton Town: Elliot Lee 2’, Danny Hylton 33’(p)
Southend United: None
Luton Town: Glen Rea 65’
Southend United: Luke Hyam 68’, Jason Demetriou 88’
Attendance: 9,086 (916 away)