Southend’s 35-year wait for a win at Scunthorpe goes on as they fell to a damaging 4-1 defeat against the Iron thanks to three goals in 10 second-half minutes at Glanford Park.
Blues had started the game off in superb fashion with Simon Cox finishing off a fantastic team goal, chesting down Sam Hart’s cross before finding the back of the net.
The visitors continued to look the stronger but Scunthorpe grew into the contest and had fortune on their side as Tom Pearce’s cross floated all the way in for a fortuitous equaliser.
But the way in which Southend collapsed in the second-half will be a major concern for Chris Powell as Blues conceded three goals in 10-minutes to be blown away by Scunthorpe.
Tony McMahon put the home side in front by flicking on a Clayton Lewis corner before George Thomas doubled Scunthorpe’s lead latching onto a Lee Novak knock down.
James Perch then rounded off the scoring heading in a free-kick from the right hand side to ensure Blues winless run extended to nine-games and dragged Southend closer to the relegation zone.
And with bottom club AFC Wimbledon to come this weekend at Roots Hall, that game now looks like a must win for Powell and his side if they are to drag themselves out of danger.
Chris Powell stressed the need to turn Saturday’s draw with Blackpool into a positive and build on that result with another positive performance away at Scunthorpe, and Southend started brightly with former Iron skipper Sam Mantom going close with a free-kick inside two minutes.
And less than a minute later Blues’ bright start was rewarded as Simon Cox put the finishing touches to a superb team goal. Starting from the back, some quick passing led to Sam Hart crossing the ball to Cox who chested it down before shooting across goal and finding the bottom corner.
The home fans were getting agitated with Stuart McCall’s side early on and the goal from Cox only exacerbated matters. And Southend could have added to their anguish when Mantom was slid into the box by Cox, hitting the side netting from a narrow-angle.
But with Blues’ recent poor run in mind, a one-goal lead wasn’t likely to cut it and they almost got caught out by a quick Tony McMahon free-kick which found Levi Sutton. Sutton cut ball back and into the run of Lee Novak who forced a superb point-blank save from Nathan Bishop.
That chance seemed to spur the home side on and they went close once again with another free-kick into the area which bounced around the penalty box before some last-ditch defending from Southend prevented the home side levelling.
However, Blues would only keep them at bay a matter of seconds longer as the Iron levelled in fortuitous circumstances. Midfielder Tom Pearce picked the ball up far on the left side and crossed the ball into the danger zone, seeing his cross float over Bishop and in to make it 1-1.
Scunthorpe now had the momentum and continued to look dangerous going forward, but Southend still had chances to retake the lead with Cox going closest when he got in and rounded Jak Alnwick but couldn’t find the back of the net from an increasingly tight angle.
And the home side themselves had a couple of glorious chances to go into the break in front, the best falling to George Thomas who found himself in acres of space inside the penalty area only to be denied but the leg of Bishop to keep the two sides on terms at the interval.
Both sides went into this game perilously close to the relegation zone so the next goal at Glanford Park was likely to be vital for either side, and Southend carved out a decent opening when Jason Demetriou’s low cross run for Timothee Dieng who fired over the crossbar.
Mantom then went close direct from a corner which almost caught out Alnwick who tipped the ball away from under his crossbar but that was to be the best Blues could muster as Scunthorpe took the lead and sparked a collapse from the visitors.
The Iron went in front in the 68th minute when a Clayton Lewis corner was flicked on at the near-post by Tony McMahon, with the ball looping up and over Bishop and into the back of the net to the delight of the home fans.
Five minutes later and Scunthorpe were further in front when McMahon’s ball into the box was headed down by Novak. Bishop then suffered an untimely slip which allowed the onrushing Thomas to get to the ball first and put the Iron two goals in front.
Powell reacted by throwing on Stephen McLaughlin and Norman Wabo but within seconds of their introduction, Blues were put out of their misery as a free-kick was whipped into the penalty area and headed beyond the despairing dive of Bishop by James Perch to make it 4-1 to the home side.
Scunthorpe’s 10-minute blitz brought to an end any hope of Southend claiming a first win away at Scunthorpe since September 1983 despite such a bright start to the game, with Southend edging ever closer to the relegation zone ahead of a crunch fixture against AFC Wimbledon on Saturday.
Scunthorpe United XI: Alnwick, McMahon, Ojo, van Veen, Perch, Pearce, Novak, Thomas, Burgess, Sutton (Lewis 46’), McArdle (C). Subs Not Used: Flatt, Webster, Olomola, McGahey, Wootton, Hammill
Blues XI: Bishop, Hyam (Wabo 77’), Turner, Dieng, Cox, Mantom (C), Moore, Demetriou (McLaughlin 77’), Lennon, Bunn (Kightly 83’), Hart. Subs Not Used: Smith, Kiernan, Yearwood, Kelman
Referee: Ben Toner
Assistants: David Avent & Ian Smedley
Fourth Official: Nick Hopton
Scunthorpe United: Tom Pearce 23’, Tony McMahon 68’, George Thomas 73’, James Perch 78’
Southend United: Simon Cox 3’
Scunthorpe United: Clayton Lewis 65’, Kevin van Veen 70’
Southend United: Jason Demetriou 66’