SOUTHEND United banished their penalty blues to beat Oldham Athletic 2-0 at Roots Hall this afternoon.

Having missed four of their last five spot-kicks, Jason Demetriou fired the Shrimpers in front from the penalty spot in the first half.

And it was the Latics who struggled from 12 yards as Craig Davies penalty on the stroke of half-time was superbly saved by Mark Oxley.

A fine second half goal from Josh Wright sealed the victory and saw Blues move up to ninth in the League One table.

But it was Oldham who threatened first with top goalscorer Eoin Doyle sending a well struck 20 yard shot inches over the crossbar inside the opening minute of the match.

However, after surviving the scare, the Shrimpers hit back to open the scoring with Demetriou firing home a penalty in the 17th minute of the match.

Referee Charles Breakspear pointed to the spot after Latics defender Cameron Dummigan had brought Josh Wright in the box.

And Demetriou made no mistake from 12 yards, sending his penalty into the right hand side of the night with Oldham goalkeeper Johny Placide diving in the opposite direction.

The Shrimpers had missed four of their last five penalties before Demetriou’s effort and should soon have doubled their lead when a fine left wing cross from the recalled Stephen Hendrie picked out Ryan Leonard six yards from goal, only for the midfielder to send his effort wide of the right post when he should have scored.

Moments later, Marc-Antoine Fortune sent a deflected effort across the face of goal before the Latics wasted a golden chance to equalise in the 41st minute when they were awarded a penalty of their own for Demetriou’s challenge on Rob Hunt.

But Davies failed to make the most of the opportunity as his well struck penalty was superbly tipped over the crossbar by Mark Oxley.

Shortly after the impressive save Blues were forced into making their first substitution of the afternoon just before half-time as Michael Kightly limped off injured and was replaced by Anthony Wordsworth.

However, Blues readjusted well and doubled their lead in the 54th minute, with Wright firing home a well-worked goal.

The move started when Fortune flicked a fine pass into the path of Stephen McLaughlin whose accurate left wing cross was volleyed home by Wright.

Moments later, a well-struck cross-shot from Demetriou flew across the face of goal before the Latics threatened late on with Doyle going close to scoring with two headers.