SOUTHEND United cruised into the knock-out stages of the Checkatrade Trophy with a comfortable 2-0 win against local rivals Colchester tonight.

Goals from Josh Wright and Theo Robinson saw the Shrimpers bounce back from Saturday’s FA Cup disappointment at Yeovil Town to record another victory at Roots Hall.

Blues - who also missed a late penalty when Simon Cox struck the post - began the derby clash brightly with Stephen McLaughlin lashing a 20 yard shot inches wide of the left post before the recalled winger curled a free-kick from a similar distance inches wide of the opposite upright.

Moments later, Blues wasted an even clearer chance to score when Ryan Leonard teed up Jermaine McGlashan only for the winger to fire over the crossbar from 12 yards when he should have done far better.

In reply, U’s striker Nicke Kabamba delivered a dangerous low, left wing cross which debutant Southend defender Michael Turner read well to clear.

However, with play soon switching back to the other end of the field, Blues wasted another excellent opportunity to score when Nile Ranger failed to connect cleanly with a six yard shot which U’s goalkeeper Rene Gilmartin blocked with his legs.

Southend again went close to scoring in the 33rd minute when a deflected McLaughlin free-kick found a stretching Ryan Leonard who volleyed wide of the left post from close range, But, four minutes later, Blues finally made the breakthrough, with Wright netting his first goal for the club. The midfielder – who featured in a more central position – reacted sharply after Gilmartin parried a powerful long range effort from McLaughlin up into the air and netted with a close range header. The Shrimpers came close to adding a second when Michael Timlin saw a speculative 30 yard shot tipped over by Gilmartin before the U’s goalkeeper easily gathered a low effort from Robinson.

But Robinson was not to be denied for long and the striker doubled Blues’ lead in the 49th minute as he worked his way past his man before rolling an accurate low, left footed shot into the bottom right hand corner of the net. With the Shrimpers remaining on top, John White’s close range effort was blocked by Gilmartin before Blues boss Phil Brown opted to make two substitutions in quick succession, with Anton Ferdinand and Amadou Ba entering the action in place of Turner and Robinson.

With 79 minutes on the clock, Cox also came on in place of Ranger and he missed a golden chance to add a third right at the death, firing a penalty against the left post.