SOUTHEND United produced another impressive display to see off promotion rivals Chesterfield 3-0 at Roots Hall this afternoon.
Goals from Kevan Hurst, Ryan Leonard and Barry Corr saw the in-form Shrimpers come out on top.
And that made it one defeat in 15 games for Phil Brown’s side who now sit fourth in the League Two table.
Despite the final score-line, the game got off to a quiet start until Chesterfield’s Jimmy Ryan registered the first shot on target when his 25 yard shot was smartly smothered by Blues’ goalkeeper Daniel Bentley.
But the Shrimpers hit back to open the scoring in 28th minute with an excellent worked goal.
New boy Luke O’Neill, who lined up at right-back after signing on loan from Burnley, started the move with a fantastic cross-field ball which picked out Anthony Straker down the left flank.
The winger then advanced in to the penalty area before delivering an inviting low cross which enabled Hurst to tap the ball home at the far post from inside the six yard box.
Blues then suffered a blow just before the break when O’Neill limped off and had to be replaced by Adam Thompson on the right hand side of the defence.
But, while the Shrimpers were waiting to make the change, they were perhaps fortunate to survive a penalty scare when Leonard appeared to bring Gary Roberts down inside the area but referee Robert Madley opted to wave play on.
After surviving the scare, Blues almost doubled their lead on the stroke of half-time when Straker’s low shot from the edge of the penalty area flew just inches wide of the right post.
After the break, Hurst dragged a low shot wide of the left post after cutting in off the left flank before the Shrimpers made it 2-0 in the 59th minute as some neat passing resulted in Michael Timlin teeing up Leonard.
The energetic midfielder then charged forward from just inside the opposition half before beating Chesterfield goalkeeper Tommy Lee with an assured low finish.
Two minutes later, things got even better for Blues as they extended their advantage even further as Corr delightfully lifted the ball over the head of the advancing Lee to find the back of the South Stand net.
The shell shocked Spreites fought back and wasted a great chance to get back in to the game in the 69th minute when they were awarded a penalty after Hurst brought down Roberts inside the area.
However, striker Marc Richards was unable to make the most of the opportunity as his low spot kick was impressively tipped wide of the left post.
Moments later, Bentley then made an even better save to somehow divert a dipping shot from substitute Dan Gardner over the crossbar to ensure the Shrimpers ended another pleasing afternoon with a clean sheet and three very valuable points.