DANIEL Bentley was Southend United’s hero as they beat Bury 3-2 in a penalty shoot out in an FA Cup second round replay at Roots Hall tonight.
Gavin Tomlin cancelled out Zac Thompson’s opener for the Shakers to ensure the game ended 1-1.
And that enabled Bentley to centre stage as he kept out penalties from David Worrall and Mark Hughes to send Blues through to the third round.
Up until then, both sides had struggled to deal with a difficult pitch in freezing conditions.
That led to an uneventful start to the evening but Blues pushed forward with 11 minutes on the clock, as Tomlin cut in from the left hand side of the penalty area before firing a low shot straight at Bury goalkeeper Trevor Carson.
Moments later, a determined Ryan Cresswell battled his way past two Shakers defender and had a rising left footed shot easily saved by Carson.
But Bury hit back and almost went in front in the 31st minute when Matt Doherty’s well struck 25 yard shot was impressively palmed to safety by Blues’ recalled goalkeeper Daniel Bentley.
With the visitors continued to push forward, Tom Soares – brother of former Southend winger Louie, fired over the crossbar from the edge of the penalty area.
At the start of the second half, Bury went close again with Andy Bishop having a 12 yard shot parried out by Bentley.
However, with 59 minutes on the clock, the Shakers went in front, following a rare mistake from Cresswell.
The towering centre-back gave the ball away poorly in his own penalty area and that enabled Andy Bishop to tee up Thompson and he made no mistake with an assured finish from 12 yards.
But Bury were in front for just four minutes as Tomlin headed Blues back level in the 63rd minute.
The in-form forward was picked out by an excellent right wing cross from Sean Clohessy at the near post and nodded the ball in to the bottom left hand corner of the net.
Bury soon almost went back in front when Soares had a powerful 20 yard shot tipped over in impressive fashion by Bentley.
Shortly after and, with 73 minutes on the clock, Blues boss Paul Sturrock made his first change of the evening with Freddy Eastwood coming on for David Martin.
After the alteration, Southend almost went in front when Kevan Hurst fired inches over the South Stand net from long range and, in the dying seconds of normal time, Tomlin sent a 25 yard shot flying just past the left post, meaning the tie went in to extra time.
At the start of extra time, Eastwood had a well struck left footed shot blocked by the legs of Carson before the Blues striker sent a 20 yard shot past the right post.
Southend then made their third and final change in the 117th minute with Elliot Benyon replacing Barry Corr and he almost netted a last gasp winner when his 25 yard shot was well saved by Carson.
Eastwood then headed the resulting Hurst corner inches wide of the left post as the game progressed to penalties.
The first four spot kicks were all scored with Eastwood and Clohessy on target for Blues before Worrall saw his effort saved by Bentley.
Hurst immediately netted for Southend before Troy Hewitt fired wide of the left post from Bury’s next spot kick.
Tomlin could therefore have won it for Blues but he opted for a cheeky chip and was embarrassed when Carson stood tall to easily catch the ball.
However, Bury did not make the most of the let off as Hughes saw his penalty saved by Bentley down to his left hand side to set up a third round tie with Brentford.