Peterborough United’s second half blitz condemned Blues to a 4-0 defeat at the Weston Homes Stadium with goals from Siriki Dembele, Jack Taylor and a brace from Ivan Toney.
Southend would hold their own in the first-half and restricted Peterborough to just the one clear chance for Toney, while Matt Rush had a couple of half-chances come and go.
The visitors struck the woodwork after the break with Mark Milligan’s deflected effort coming off the inside of Christy Pym’s post, mere seconds before the home side would open the scoring.
Dembele would break the deadlock after being teed up by Joe Ward, sliding his shot through Oxley and in before Taylor would thunder one through a crowd a few minutes later to double the lead.
Toney then grabbed his 22nd and 23rd league goal of the season by rounding Oxley to slide home before looping a header into the net from a corner kick to round off the scoring.
Blues were always likely to be up against it this evening against a Peterborough side that had won their last five in a row and were chasing for automatic promotion to the Championship.
Following the weekend defeat to Blackpool, boss Sol Campbell made three changes to his Blues side and handed full debuts to youngsters Miles Mitchell-Nelson, Terrell Egbri and Matt Rush.
Southend set out to frustrate their hosts in the first half at the Weston Homes Stadium and limited them to just the one clear chance on goal which fell to Peterborough’s top scorer Ivan Toney.
The striker who had 21 league goals already to his name was found by a cute ball over the top after 11 minutes, meeting the ball with a half-volley that whistled just wide of Mark Oxley’s goal.
Blues would more than hold their own as the half wore on and had a decent period of pressure midway through the first 45 minutes which saw a couple of opportunities fall to Matt Rush.
Rush’s first effort was blocked away for a corner after being found by a Stephen McLaughlin cut back before a Mark Milligan long throw reached Rush, but he was unable to connect on the half-volley.
It remained goalless at the break and Southend almost shocked Darren Ferguson’s side shortly after the restart as they hit the woodwork through a deflected Milligan effort.
The Australian midfielder sized up a half-volley from 25-yards out, seeing his effort take a wicked deflection and crash off the inside of Christy Pym’s right-hand post and fortuitously bounce clear.
That chance though was quickly forgotten about as within a minute, Peterborough broke down the other end and broke the deadlock with Siriki Dembele opening the scoring for the home side.
Finding himself in plenty of space out on the right, Joe Ward slipped the ball to Dembele who fired his shot through the onrushing Oxley to put the home side in front.
Southend’s dogged defence had finally been breached and it wasn’t long before Peterborough would double their advantage as Jack Taylor thundered in Posh’s second of the night.
The ball would take a couple of deflections inside the box before making its way to Taylor who smashed it through a crowded penalty area and in to make it 2-0.
Peterborough’s quick-fire double had put them firmly in control and after a frustrating first half for the hosts, they were well on their way towards a sixth successive league win.
And Southend just couldn’t come up with a response as Peterborough would go on to put Blues to the sword with Toney getting in on the act with two more goals for the home side.
The first was contentious with Toney looking in an offside position when he received the ball inside the penalty box, but with no flag coming he rounded Oxley before sliding the ball in.
Toney’s second came just four minutes later as he got on the end of a corner kick to loop the ball into the back of the net to notch his eighth goal in his last six matches and round off the scoring.
Victory for the home side saw them climb into the top two while Southend now must dust themselves off for a run of three huge home games against Coventry, Gillingham and Burton.
Peterborough United XI: Pym, Butler, Beevers (C), Szmodics (Boyd 58’), Dembele, Brown (Knight 58’), Bennett, Toney (Eisa 75’), Ward, Mason, Taylor. Subs Not Used: Chapman, Reed, Blake-Tracey, Jones
Blues XI: Oxley, Bwomono, Milligan, Dieng (C), McLaughlin, Mantom (Acquah 64’), Demetriou, Clifford, Egbri, Rush (Kelman 64’), Mitchell-Nelson. Subs Not Used: Taylor, Goodship, Hutchinson, Kinali, Coker
Referee: C Boyeson
Assistants: C Farrell & S Finch
Fourth Official: P Hobday
Peterborough United: Siriki Dembele 50’, Jack Taylor 57’, Ivan Toney 70’, 74’
Southend United: None
Peterborough United: Ivan Toney 45+2’
Southend United: Stephen McLaughlin 28’, Sam Mantom 48’, Elvis Bwomono 70’, Mark Milligan 78’, Jason Demetriou 80’
Attendance: 5,036 (244 Away Fans)