Elvis Bwomono’s 96th-minute winner secured Southend an unlikely three points as they picked up their first home league win of the season with a 2-1 victory over Lincoln City at Roots Hall.
It looked like the points were going to be shared when Harry Anderson cancelled out Charlie Kelman’s second-half strike, heading the ball in with just one minute of normal time remaining.
But Bwomono came up with the winner in the sixth of seven added on minutes, glancing in Stephen McLaughlin’s corner to win it for Sol Campbell’s side.
It was the perfect end to a difficult week for Blues and will be a huge boost to the young Southend side in their battle against relegation.
Following on from the midweek defeat at Doncaster, Campbell made three changes to his side as Isaac Hutchinson came in along with Sam Barratt and Tom Clifford for their full Blues debuts.
With youngsters like Terrell Egbri, Miles Mitchell-Nelson and 16-year-old Kenny Coker on the bench, it was a youthful Southend squad, but at no point did Blues look overawed by their visitors.
Lincoln though did have the first opportunity on goal after Harry Phillips fouled Tyreece John-Jules, with Jorge Grant stepping up and forcing a diving save out of Mark Oxley with the free-kick.
Blues would settle into the contest and had efforts from Stephen McLaughlin and Tom Clifford miss the target before Hutchinson struck a volley straight at goalkeeper Josh Vickers.
Neither side were able to create anything clear in front of goal, but Southend felt they had a good shout for a penalty waved away when McLaughlin’s shot struck the hand of Joe Morrell in the box.
Campbell’s side continued to grow into the game and had further chances for Hutchinson and McLaughlin, but it would remain goalless going into the half-time interval.
Having arguably been the better side in the first-half, Blues carried that momentum into the second half and had a great chance to open the scoring just after the restart.
A deep cross from Jason Demetriou found the run of Charlie Kelman inside the six-yard box, but the young striker couldn’t stretch enough to divert the ball on target as he fired over.
Southend kept having the better of the chances with Barratt missing another great opportunity when he got on the end of a cut-back from Brandon Goodship only to scuff his effort wide.
But the home side would eventually make the breakthrough that their performance had deserved as they opened the scoring just after an hour with Kelman on the mark for Blues.
Barratt teed up Phillips who was unlucky to see his curling effort come crashing off the crossbar, but Kelman was on hand and stayed onside to stroke in the rebound.
Lincoln had the most away defeats of any side in League One and they looked set for their 12th defeat on the road, and it was the least that Southend’s performance thus far had deserved.
But their lead could have been wiped out within seconds as Tom Hopper got on the end of a loose ball inside the box, thundering a low strike towards goal that had to be saved by the legs of Oxley.
That was to be the last action for Hopper who was replaced by Jake Hesketh before another former Blue Jack Payne was introduced with less than five minutes remaining.
And with such a narrow lead, Lincoln were always in the game and they had a golden chance to snatch a point fall to John-Jules who somehow blazed over from the edge of the six-yard box late on.
But Michael Appleton’s side would go on to score and look like snatching a point from the jaws of defeat as Harry Anderson headed Lincoln level, looping the ball over Oxley in the 89th minute.
Seven minutes were added on so there was still plenty of time for either side to win it and both sides had chances to nick a win with Jake Hesketh’s deflected effort forcing Oxley into a brilliant save.
Tom Clifford then got goal side and forced a smart save out of Vickers before Southend stole the victory in the sixth minute of added-on time through the most unlikely source.
A corner from the Southend left headed towards the near-post, finding the run of Elvis Bwomono of all people who glanced his header in to spark jubilant scenes and record a deserved win.
Blues XI: Oxley, Bwomono, Milligan, McLaughlin, Kelman, Demetriou, Barratt, Clifford, Hutchinson (Coker 90+2’), Phillips (Mitchell-Nelson 80’), White (C) (Goodship 57’). Subs Not Used: Taylor, Egbri, Rush, Kinali
Lincoln City XI: Vickers, Shackell (C), Bolger, John-Jules, Hopper (Hesketh 72’), Grant, Morrell, Eardley, Melbourne, Elbouzedi (Anderson 46’), Edun (Payne 86’). Subs Not Used: Andrew, Eyoma, Chapman, Coventry
Referee: Charles Breakspear
Assistants: Stephen Brown & Daniel Cook
Fourth Official: Carl Fitch-Jackson
Southend United: Charlie Kelman 63’, Elvis Bwomono 90+6’
Lincoln City: Harry Anderson 89’
Southend United: Harry Phillips 5’, Mark Milligan 45’, Jason Demetriou 83’
Lincoln City: Tyreece John-Jules 67’, Cian Bolger 90’
Attendance: 6,605 (666 Away Fans)