SOUTHEND United stormed back to winning ways with an emphatic 4-1 victory at Bury this afternoon.

Striker Nile Ranger bagged a brace on his return from a groin strain at Gigg Lane while Simon Cox and Stephen McLaughlin were also on target as Phil Brown’s side piled more misery on the out of form Shakers.

Blues – who had been beaten twice in quick succession in cup competitions before making the long trip north - broke the deadlock after just nine minutes when the recalled Michael Timlin teed up Ranger.

The striker cut in from the left hand side and sent a deflected low shot into the bottom right hand corner of the net from 20 yards.

Three minutes later, things got even better for the Shrimpers as they doubled their lead, with Cox working his way onto the score-sheet.

The striker collected an intelligent free-kick from Timlin, which caught out the Bury back four, and sent a low, right footed shot into the bottom left hand corner of the net.

The double strike had the Shakers on the back foot but the home-side were handed a route back into the game in the 20th minute when referee Richard Clark pointed to the spot after adjudging Ben Coker to have brought down Hallam Hope in the box following Danny Mayor’s right wing corner.

The flag kick had been given after Blues goalkeeper Mark Oxley allowed the ball to roll out of play, thinking a goal-kick would be awarded instead of a corner.

However, the shot-stopper was unable to make up for the mistake as James Vaughan powered the penalty into the left hand side of the net with Oxley diving in the opposite direction.

But, straight after the spot-kick, the Shrimpers came close to making it 3-1 when Will Atkinson’s brilliant burst forward teed up McLaughlin but Bury goalkeeper Ben Williams was able to gather the effort at the second attempt.

Bury soon hit back in search of an equaliser and enjoyed a sustained spell of pressure during which Blues were forced into making a substitution as John White limped off, with what appeared to be a hamstring injury, and was replaced at right-back by Luke O’Neill.

However, the hosts remained on top and almost netted an equaliser at the start of the second half when Neil Danns’ deflected long range shot had to be tipped over by Oxley.

But, after surviving the scare, Blues hit back and extended their lead in the 61st minute, with Ranger again on target.

The fit again forward was superbly teed up by Cox who sprinted down the left flank before delivering a low cross which Ranger fired home first time with his left foot to restore a two goal cushion for the Shrimpers.

Bury soon almost got back into the game when George Miller’s effort was cleared off the goal-line by Timlin before Blues went even further ahead in the 76th minute when McLaughlin sent a stunning 30 yard shot flying into the roof of the net in spectacular fashion.

Shortly after the fourth goal, Jakub Sokolik replaced Anton Ferdinand at the heart of the back four before Marc-Antoine Fortune also came on in place of Ranger in attack.

After the changes, Bury’s Danns fired over from six yards when he should have done better but the Shakers were unable to trouble the Shrimpers late on as they sunk to a seventh league defeat in succession.