Southend United survived a late scare at Adams Park as they beat Wycombe Wanderers 3-2 thanks to goals from Theo Robinson, Tom Hopper and Simon Cox.
The victory – securing Blues’ first back-to-back wins of the season – was fully deserved and began after Robinson bundled in from close range just before the half-time interval.
A quick one-two-punch from Southend in the second-half all but killed the game off, with Hopper doubling Blues’ advantage by tapping in a Ben Coker cross for his fifth goal of the season.
Cox seemingly made the points safe four minutes later after Jason Demetriou put him through, calmly slotting the ball beyond Ryan Allsop and stun the home crowd.
A spectacular volley from substitute Craig Mackail-Smith looked to be nothing but a consolation for Wycombe only for Adebayo Akinfenwa to grab one and make it a very nervy finish.
The fightback though came too late for the home side to claim a surprise point as Southend just about claimed a second successive win.
It had been nothing short of a perfect afternoon for Blues boss Chris Powell prior to conceding those two goals, and Powell would have been desperate to see his side show some sort of consistency, coming off the back of a 1-0 win at home to Fleetwood last weekend.
Powell made just the one change to his Blues side from that that beat the Cod Army, with goalkeeper and club captain Mark Oxley returning between the sticks after serving out a three-game ban picked up against Charlton.
Southend were on the lookout for their first back-to-back wins of the campaign and they made a very bright start at Adams Park, carving out a whole host of chances to open the scoring in the glorious High Wycombe sunshine.
Ben Coker had a couple of half chances which failed to really test Ryan Allsop before Coker’s clip ball into the far post towards Tom Hopper saw the former Scunthorpe United striker rise highest and head the ball just wide of Allsop’s near post.
Hopper then almost turned provider as his cross to the far post found Theo Robinson, but the Blues striker skied his volley over the crossbar. Unperturbed, Robinson then created a chance of his own, cutting onto his left foot inside the area and forcing a smart save from Allsop with his feet.
Having weathered the early storm, Wycombe created a couple of opportunities of their own: seeing Darius Charles head over from a set-piece before Adebayo Akinfenwa chested the ball down to Matt Bloomfield who shot wide on the half-volley.
Akinfenwa then saw a chance of his own go off target when he headed Fred Onyedinma’s cross over before Southend saw another chance up the other end go begging when Robinson curled wide after being found by Jason Demetriou.
Southend’s positive play though was rewarded just before the break as Robinson made it third time lucky to put Blues in front. Hopper got goal side of the Wycombe defence before laying the ball across the face of goal for Robinson to bundle home in front of the 700-plus Blues fans.
Blues were more than worthy of their one-goal lead at the interval and they had a huge shout for a penalty waved away inside the opening seconds of the second-half after Hopper’s flick inside the area appeared to come off the arms of Jason McCarthy, but the referee was unmoved.
Wycombe hit Blues on the counter-attack immediately after the claims went unanswered and they had a superb chance to level when Onyedinma went clean through, but the striker couldn’t lift the ball enough to beat Mark Oxley as Southend remained in front.
With the Chairboys looking threatening, Southend took the sting out of the tail of the home side by catching Wycombe with two goals in quick succession to all but secure them their second away win of the season.
Blues doubled their advantage when Coker picked up a loose ball, carrying it into the area before crossing for Hopper to stab home from close range. Four minutes later, a ball forward from Demetriou set Simon Cox clean through and he calmly beat Allsop to make it three.
A stunned Wycombe side had little response for Southend in the remaining half-an-hour of play, with the three-goal lead affording Powell the luxury of giving Michael Kightly and the returning Dru Yearwood some vital minutes on the pitch following suspension and injury respectively.
Wycombe though would make a fight of it with two very late goals to put the home side back in a game that they had no right to still be in with goals from Craig Mackail-Smith and Akinfenwa making a nervy finish for Powell’s side.
Substitute Mackail-Smith looked to have scored what would be nothing more than a consolation with a spectacular volley only for Akinfenwa to then smash the ball home from close range minutes later to put Gareth Ainsworth’s side within one.
Four minutes of added on time were shown as time seemed to stand still for the visitors who were desperate to hear the final whistle go. Referee Tom Nield eventually blew the final whistle to the relief of the 782 Blues fans behind Oxley’s goal as Southend held on.
Wycombe Wanderers XI: Allsop, Jombati, Jacobson, Gape, Bloomfield (C)(Cowan-Hall 66’), Kashket (Williams 66’), Morris, Onyedinma (Mackail-Smith 66’), Akinfenwa, Charles, McCarthy. Subs Not Used: Ma-Kalambay, Harriman, Thompson, Freeman
Blues XI: Oxley, Coker, Turner, Dieng, Hopper, Cox (McLaughlin 72’), Mantom (C)(Yearwood 77’), Moore, Demetriou, Robinson, White. Subs Not Used: Bishop, Klass, Kyprianou, McCoulsky
Referee: Tom Nield
Assistants: Christopher Husband & Ben Cobb
Fourth Official: Gareth Viccars
Wycombe Wanderers: Craig Mackail-Smith 83’, Adebayo Akinfenwa 87’
Southend United: Theo Robinson 38’, Tom Hopper 53’, Simon Cox 57’
Wycombe Wanderers: None
Southend United: None
Attendance: 4,784 (782 Away)