SOUTHEND United moved back to within a point of the League One play-offs places with a comfortable 2-0 win at bottom of the table Coventry City tonight.

First half goals from Nile Ranger and Ryan Leonard secured a vital victory for the Shrimpers and also saw them bounce back from Saturday’s disappointing 2-0 defeat at Bristol Rovers.

Blues began brightly at the Ricoh Arena and came close to taking the lead after just 17 seconds when Anthony Wordsworth sent a 20 yard shot inches wide of the right post.

But the Shrimpers did not have to wait too much longer to break the deadlock as Ranger fired them in front with two minutes on the clock.

The striker was picked out by a right wing cross from Theo Robinson and made no mistake with a controlled low finish from 12 yards for his fifth goal of the season, all of which have come away from home.

Blues remained on top after taking the lead and doubled their advantage in the 23rd minute, with Leonard on target from long range.

The midfielder stepped forward after Wordsworth rolled a free-kick into his path and netted with a deflected effort from 25 yards.

In reply, Coventry midfielder Callum Reilly fired straight at Blues goalkeeper Ted Smith from the edge of the penalty area at the start of the second half.

However, little else happened immediately after the break despite the troubled hosts making two changes in quick succession in a bid to get back into the game.

The Shrimpers continued to enjoy more of the ball but without threatening too often and, in a bid to become more of a threat, the visitors made their first change of the night in the 67th minute with Marc-Antoine Fortune replacing Ranger in attack.

Immediately after the change, Robinson saw a well struck shot smartly smothered by Coventry goalkeeper Lee Burge low down to his left hand side before the Shrimpers made their second substitution, in the 77th minute, with Jermaine McGlashan replacing Robinson up front.

A third change followed seven minutes later with Frank Nouble coming on for Stephen McLaughlin before Blues comfortably saw out the closing stages to end their three match winless streak out the closing stages to end their three match winless streak.