SOUTHEND United staged a stunning second half fight-back to secure a 2-2 draw at high-flying Scunthorpe tonight.
The out of form Shrimpers seemed to be heading for another defeat when second placed Iron raced in to a 2-0 lead at Glanford Park.
But goals from John Egan and John White secured a share of the spoils for Phil Brown’s side to also keep them in the play-off positions.
Blues were not at their best during the first half and they went behind after just three minutes when Paddy Madden’s cross from the right hand side was only partially cleared by Mark Phillips.
That enabled Matt Sparrow to latch on to the loose ball and fire a well struck, left foot shot in to the roof of the net from 12 yards.
The Iron remained on top until the Shrimpers hit back with Kevan Hurst having a well struck 25 yard shot gathered by the home-side’s goalkeeper Sam Slocombe at the second attempt.
But, after surviving the scare, Scunthorpe then came close to doubling their lead in the 26th minute when Terry Hawkridge’s fine right wing cross picked out Sam Winnall just eight yards from goal.
However, League Two’s top goalscorer saw his close range header superbly tipped wide of the right post by Blues’ shot-stopper Daniel Bentley.
But Winnall was not to be denied for long and, in the 39th minute, he bagged his 19th league goal of the season to extend Scunthorpe’s lead.
The in-form forward was picked out by Gary McSheffrey’s right wing free-kick and flicked the ball home from close range.
Blues saw more of the ball at the start of the second half and boss Brown made his first change of the night in the 57th minute with Anthony Straker coming on to replace Will Atkinson.
Four minutes later, Freddy Eastwood came on for Barry Corr in attack and, just seconds later, the Shrimpers found themselves back in the game following a speculative strike from Egan.
The on loan Sunderland defender charged forward and netted a stunning 35 yard volley which flew in to the roof of the net.
Things were soon to get even better for the Shrimpers as they drew back level in the 69th minute with skipper White netting the first goal of his career.
The 27-year-old swapped passes down the right flank and delivered a deep cross which deceived Scunthorpe goalkeeper Slocombe and nestled in the top left hand corner of the net.
Conor Clifford then almost put Blues in front with a well struck shot which flew inches wide of the left post but he soon made way for Michael Timlin as the visitors made their final change of the game in the 80th minute.
And that meant the Shrimpers had to settle for a point, which for most of the evening had seemed rather unlikely.