Matthew Dennis’ third goal in as many games secured Blues a vital 1-0 win against Weymouth at the Bob Lucas Stadium.
Dennis raced through after five minutes to slot in what turned out the be the winner after winning a high ball forward and calmly putting the ball beyond Ross Fitzsimons.
Weymouth posed little in way of a response, with Southend having several chances to increase the margin of victory in wet and windy conditions on the south coast, with the win putting Blues four points clear of the National League relegation places.
With just one point and one place separating the two sides going into kick-off, the stakes couldn’t have been much higher for Kevin Maher’s side who took to the field for the first time since the Boxing Day draw against Bromley just under a fortnight ago.
Southend named three changes from the Bromley draw with Harrison Neal making his debut following his loan move from Sheffield United. Fellow Blades-loanee Kacper Lopata came back into the backline with striker Rhys Murphy rounding off the changes as part of a front three with Sam Dalby and Matthew Dennis.
And it was Dennis who would get the visiting Blues off to the perfect start as he added to his goals against Bromley and Dorking by slotting in for the third straight game to give Southend the lead after just five minutes.
A free-kick for the home side was hacked upfield with Dennis beating the last defender to the bouncing ball, leaving him to race through on goal and roll the ball beyond Ross Fitzsimons to put Blues into an early lead.
Southend went close again a few minutes later when Nathan Ralph's whipped cross narrowly evaded the head of Dennis in the six-yard box, while Weymouth’s best opportunities looked to come from set-pieces, with Tyler Cordner seeing a free-kick comfortably saved by Steve Arnold.
With the wind and rain hammering the Bob Lucas Stadium, the Terras did carve out a great chance to level just before the interval as Brandon Goodship played Weymouth skipper Josh McQuiod in. The number 10 turned in the box and got his shot away only for Shaun Hobson to clear off the line.
A second for Blues would have given Weymouth a mountain to climb and Southend twice went close shortly after the restart with Murphy getting goal side and forcing a superb fingertip save from Fitzsimons before Dennis created space in the box to flash a shot across the face of goal.
Dennis then had a header go harmlessly over the crossbar before creating a chance for Dalby, sliding the striker through only for the Southend number 10 to cut onto his right foot and blaze his effort way off target.
Southend continued to push forward for a pivotal second of the afternoon and saw Fitzsimons come out on top again in his battle between him and Murphy, parrying clear a first-time effort from the Blues striker, while subs Matt Rush and Nathan Ferguson also went close to a clincher late on.
Weymouth, who hadn’t threatened at all for the entire second-half, had a chance to snatch a point in injury-time when Ferguson gave way a free-kick 25-yards out. Andy Robinson stood over the ball but fired off target as Southend picked up a deserved three points.
Weymouth XI: Fitzsimons, Morgan, Cordner, Goodship (Bearwish 59’), Mussa, McQuoid (C) (Ash 85’), Mnoga, Robinson, Blair, Murray, Harfield. Subs Not Used: Taylor-Crossdale, Solanke, Olomowewe
Blues XI: Arnold, Ralph, Hobson, Murphy (Ferguson 88’), Dalby, Clifford, Atkinson, Neal, Lopata, Demetriou (C), Dennis (Rush 71’). Subs Not Used: Seaden, Coulson, Kensdale
Referee: Lee Collins
Assistants: Sean Rothwell & Russell Jones
Fourth Official: Lewis Sandoe
Southend United: Matthew Dennis 5’
Southend United: Harrison Neal 22’, Jason Demetriou 90’, Sam Dalby 90+4’