Blues came from behind to record a third successive win and beat Burton Albion 2-1 at the Pirelli Stadium thanks to second-half strikes from Tom Hopper and Simon Cox.
The Brewers took a deserved lead midway through the half when Liam Boyce made up for an earlier miss by scoring with a well-taken diving header at the near post.
Chris Powell’s side had been second best in the opening period but began the second-half brightly and were worth their equaliser when Tom Hopper nodded in Jason Demetriou’s cross.
Burton responded and looked the most likely to grab a winner but Southend held the home side off and nicked the three points late on when Simon Cox smashed in from close range.
Powell will have been delighted by the character shown by his side to come from behind and claim all three points, the first time they have done so all season.
It’s also further vindication for the manager whose tweak to the system following three straight defeats has produced three wins from three since losing at home to Peterborough United.
Powell was no doubt hesitant to tinker with his side after back-to-back wins and made just the one change for the trip to Burton as Dru Yearwood made his first start of the season, replacing Sam Mantom who was rested after carrying a couple of knocks.
For Southend to make it a hat-trick of victories they would have to get past a tough Burton Albion side who hadn’t lost at home in the league since the opening day and could count Burnley and Aston Villa amongst their scalps in this season’s Carabao Cup.
And it was the Brewers who made the brighter start of the two sides, creating a great chance to open the scoring early on when Jake Hesketh’s corner was headed down by Kyle McFadzean only to be blazed over the crossbar from close range by Liam Boyce.
Southend responded a couple of minutes later by hitting the woodwork when Jason Demetriou’s cross from the right was headed onto the face of the post by Simon Cox before The Brewers repeated the trick with David Templeton’s snap-shot that was pushed onto the post by Mark Oxley.
Albion though would break the deadlock midway through the first-half as Boyce made amends for his earlier miss. Southend were unable to clear from a corner, allowing Scott Fraser to whip the ball back in towards the near-post and allow Boyce to score with a well-taken diving header.
Plymouth away back in August was the only time Southend had come from behind to claim a point in the league this season and they immediately set about levelling matters with Tom Hopper going close with a looping header which went just over Dimitar Evtimov’s crossbar.
Despite the initial reaction, Blues would struggle to trouble the Burton back-line and the home side would hit the woodwork for a second time before the interval, only thanks to a wonderful stop from Oxley who tipped Hesketh’s curling effort onto the crossbar with a superb fingertip save.
Powell tried to mix things up at the break by replacing Theo Robinson with Michael Kightly and the midfielder looked threatening early in the second-half, first putting a cross in towards Cox that was well cleared before seeing his free-kick flicked over the crossbar, again by Cox.
Southend continued to have plenty of possession but weren’t producing much in terms of end product; that was until Demetriou – making his 100th appearance for Blues – produced an absolute pearler of a cross to pick out the run of Hopper who scored with a diving header to level.
Having got on level terms, Southend had to withstand a spirited response from Burton who went within inches of going back in front through their dangerman Hesketh, with the midfielder cutting onto his left foot before curling an effort just wide of Oxley’s right-hand post.
Southend’s equaliser had lit a fire underneath the home side and they started to push forward with menace with Blues defending manfully, restricting the home side to half-chances which were easily defended.
After weathering the storm from the home side, Blues began to grow into the final stages of the game and they would take the lead with just over 10 minutes to go after Kightly won Blues a corner over the far side.
The substitute’s corner into the near post was flicked on by Taylor Moore and headed towards goal by Michael Turner, but needed a final touch from Cox to get the ball over the line with the striker rifling the ball into the net from close range to put Southend in front.
Burton made three changes, bringing on strikers Marvin Sordell, Joe Sbarra and the dangerous Devante Cole, but Blues again limited Nigel Clough’s side to long-range efforts and half-chances as four minutes of added on time were shown.
Backed by a small army of Blues fans who had made the midweek trip to Derbyshire, the final whistle was greeted with huge cheers from the Southend fans who were sent home happy having watched their side notch a third win in a row which sent Powell’s side into the top half.
Burton Albion XI: Evtimov, Brayford, Allen, McFadzean, Fraser (Cole 80’), Hesketh, Akins (C), Templeton, McCrory (Sbarra 87’), Quinn (Sordell 83’), Boyce. Subs Not Used: Campbell, Buxton, Turner, Fox
Blues XI: Oxley (C), Coker, Turner, Dieng, Hopper, Cox (McCoulsky 90+4’), Yearwood (Klass 71’), Moore, Demetriou, Robinson (Kightly 46’), White. Subs Not Used: Bishop, Bwomono, Kyprianou, Hutchinson
Referee: Mr S. Stockbridge
Assistants: Mr S. Plane & Mr L. Freeman
Fourth Official: Mr M.Griffiths
Burton Albion: Liam Boyce 21’
Southend United: Tom Hopper 61’, Simon Cox 79’
Burton Albion: None
Southend United: Dru Yearwood 47’