Blues suffered their fourth successive defeat after goals from Toumani Diagouraga and Paddy Madden helped Fleetwood to a 2-1 win at Roots Hall.
Phil Brown’s side struggled to apply any pressure on the visitor’s goal as Uwe Rosler’s side went close in the first half with a Devante Cole header that cannoned off the crossbar.
Southend started the second half much brighter but were undone by a loose pass from Anton Ferdinand that lead to Diagouraga scoring on his Cod Army debut.
Minutes later and boos began to ring around Roots Hall as Paddy Madden got on the end of a Kyle Dempsey flick on to muscle his way through and score past Mark Oxley for Fleetwood’s second.
Blues did manage to make a game of it late on when Michael Kightly’s deflected effort looped into the net, but it was too little too late for Southend as they fell to their eighth defeat in nine.
The defeat leaves Southend staring down the barrel of the bottom four with just two points now between them and the drop zone.
Fleetwood, on the other hand, climb into the top half of the table ahead of their Emirates FA1 Cup replay at the King Power Stadium against Leicester City on Tuesday.
With pressure mounting on Phil Brown following last weekend’s defeat to Northampton, the Blues boss made made four changes to his line-up in an attempt to arrest Southend’s poor form.
Skipper Anton Ferdinand returned along with John White, whilst Michael Timlin came into the midfield for his 250th appearance for the club with Jermaine McGlashan out on the wing.
Fleetwood came to Roots Hall with an Emirates FA Cup replay against Leicester City looming on the horizon and they went close to opening the scoring inside the first 15-minutes of the game.
A free-kick right from Ashley Hunter right on the byline was fired into the box, picking out Devante Cole whose header deflected onto the face of the crossbar before being cleared.
That turned out to be the only clear opportunity for either side in a first-half completely bereft of chances as both sides struggled with the conditions of the pitch.
Blues began the second half more brightly though with Stephen McLaughlin awarded a free-kick in a dangerous position but Michael Kightly was unable to beat the wall with his effort.
Southend then forced Chris Neal into action for the first time when McLaughlin was teed up by Jermaine McGlashan, with the Irishman stinging the palms of the Fleetwood ‘keeper.
But Southend’s bright start was undone by a mistake from Anton Ferdinand which led to Fleetwood taking the lead through debutante Toumani Diagouraga.
The skipper’s loose pass was picked off by Ashley Hunter who played in substitute Paddy Madden before the ball was slid through to Diagouraga to score on his first appearance for the club.
Having been brought on just a minute earlier, Madden made an immediate impact with the assist to Diagouraga and proved to be an inspired substitution as he then added Fleetwood’s second.
The former Scunthorpe United player got on the end of Kyle Dempsey’s flick-on, outmuscling his marker to beat Mark Oxley, signalling a chorus of boos from the home fans.
After replacing Michael Turner early on, Brown used his final two substitutions by bringing on strikers Marc-Antoine Fortune and Norman Wabo.
Youngster Wabo has been scoring goals for fun for the u23 side and he wasn’t short of confidence as his curling effort from outside the box had to be parried away by Neal.
And Southend were given a glimmer of hope of salvaging a point as they halved the deficit with four minutes of normal time remaining through a fortunate Kightly strike.
McLaughlin’s corner from the left was only cleared as far as the Kightly whose strike took a wicked deflection, looping up and over Neal and into the bottom corner to give Blues a chance.
Blues were given more hope when five minutes of added on time were signalled and with seconds left Southend won themselves a free-kick which Oxley went up for.
Kightly’s clip into the area couldn’t find the big target of Oxley, but would eventually fall to Wabo who failed to get enough power on the strike to beat Neal and salvage a point.
Blues XI: Oxley, Coker, Ferdinand (C)(Fortune 65’), Turner (Hendrie 24’), Kightly, Timlin, Cox (Wabo 69’), McLaughlin, McGlashan, Demetriou, White. Subs Not Used: Bishop, Ba, Kyprianou, Bwomono
Fleetwood Town XI: Neal, Coyle (Jones 84’), Bell, Pond (C), Dempsey, Burns (Madden 56’), Bolger, Diagouraga, Hunter, Schwabl, Cole (McAleny 75’). Subs Not Used: Cairns, Hiwula, Grant, Sowerby
Referee: Antony Coggins
Assistants: Anthony Da Costa & Callum Walcheter
Fourth Official: Ian Cooper
Southend United: Michael Kightly 86’
Fleetwood Town: Toumani Diagouraga 57’, Paddy Madden 62’
Southend United: None
Fleetwood Town: Toumani Diagouraga 53’, Lewie Coyle 78’