Southend United picked up a deserved 3-1 victory over Bristol Rovers with goals from Charlie Kelman, Terrell Egbri and Stephen McLaughlin sealing a first win in seven for Blues.
United hit the front after a mistake from Josh Hare was latched upon, allowing Charlie Kelman to run through and score past Jamal Blackman.
Blues though returned the favour straight after the restart when Elvis Bwomono got caught on the ball and Jayden Mitchell-Lawson stole through to equalise a minute after the interval.
Sol Campbell’s side would react brilliantly and retake the lead when Terrell Egbri ran in at the far post to tap in Eren Kinali’s low ball across the box for his first senior goal.
And the points were sealed when Stephen McLaughlin’s cross-come-shot took a wicked deflection off Alfie Kilgour to divert into the net and seal the three points.
Both sides had come into this afternoon in poor form, with Southend losing their last six while Bristol Rovers had lost their last two and won just one of their last 15 league games.
But of those six defeats for Blues, four of them had been by just a single goal and Sol Campbell’s side had put in some positive performances against teams pushing for promotion at the top of the table.
So both sides saw this afternoon as a chance for a positive result and the visitors went close to opening the scoring inside three minutes when Alfie Kilgour hit the woodwork.
A free-kick from the right was played back across goal by Tony Craig, allowing Kilgour to nod the ball goalwards only for it to bounce off the post before the follow-up was saved by Patrik Gunnarsson.
It was a lucky escape for Blues and they made the most of it as they would open the scoring midway through the first-half with a well-taken strike from frontman Charlie Kelman.
Josh Hare's attempted clearance struck Kelman who was then put through on goal by Jason Demetriou. Kelman ran clear before firing across the face of Jamal Blackman and into the bottom corner to put Southend in front.
It was a superbly taken effort from Kelman who’d deservedly put Blues 1-0 up and they went within a whisker of increasing their lead when Terrell Egbri’s deflected cross hit the Rovers crossbar.
If Egbri had scored there it would have been harsh on the visitors with the deflection deceiving Blackman, and he was almost caught out again by another deflected effort, this time from Lewis Gard, that just hit the side netting.
Going into the break a goal to the good, the instructions would have been to keep things tight at the back early in the second-half but Rovers were back level within a minute of the restart.
Elvis Bwomono got the ball caught between his feet and was unable to get it clear, allowing Jayden Mitchell-Lawson to run clean through and slide in the equaliser for Ben Garner’s side.
Such a quick equaliser was a hammer blow for Campbell’s Blues but they showed great character to go back in front before the hour mark with Egbri scoring his first senior goal for the club.
Eren Kinali kept himself onside out on the left and played a wicked low ball across the face of goal that cut out the entire Rovers backline, leaving Egbri to run in and score at the far post.
Lead now restored, Blues set about putting daylight between the two sides and Southend had three great chances to increase their advantage go begging.
Bwomono saw an effort from inside the box blocked by some last-ditch defending before Blackman was forced into a superb reaction save to tip Stephen McLaughlin’s effort over the crossbar.
The on-loan Chelsea goalkeeper was then needed to save Kelman’s acrobatic bicycle-kick attempt, springing across to save to his right, as Southend continued to push for a third to kill the game off.
And after applying so much pressure on the Rovers backline, eventually it told as Blues would score a points-clinching third to seal their first victory in seven games.
McLaughlin found acres of space over on the left and when his cross-come-shot took a deflection off Kilgour, Blackman could do nothing but watch the ball hit the back of the net.
Blues XI: Gunnarsson, Bwomono, McLaughlin, Gard (Rush 90+2’), Shaughnessy, Kelman, Demetriou (C), Clifford, Egbri, Kinali, Mitchell-Nelson. Subs Not Used: Seaden, Goodship, Barratt, Kyprianou, Hutchinson, Howard
Bristol Rovers XI: Blackman, Craig, Upson (Bennett 65’), Sercombe, Clarke (C), Leahy, Kilgour, Daly (Abraham 74’), Hare (Rodman 66’), Harries, Mitchell-Lawson. Subs Not Used: Van Stappershoef, Holmes-Dennis, Menayese, Hargreaves
Referee: James Oldham
Assistants: Adrian Tranter & Stephen Brown
Fourth Official: John Flynn
Southend United: Charlie Kelman 18’, Terrell Egbri 55’, Stephen McLaughlin 79’
Bristol Rovers: Jayden Mitchell-Lawson 46’
Southend United: Jason Demetriou 70'
Bristol Rovers: Ed Upson 64’, Cian Harries 86’
Attendance: 5,806 (537 Away Fans)