SOUTHEND United are on course for another money-spinning Carling Cup run after sneaking past League One Cheltenham Town after extra time at Roots Hall.

Lee Bradbury scored a hat-trick to complete a memorable return to the first eleven, but stand-in goalkeeper Steve Collis was the real hero of the night, saving a last-minute John Finnigan penalty to send the match into extra-time.

Bradbury had given the Blues an 11th minute lead before Robins captain Finnigan equalised on 70 minutes.

Collis then took centre-stage.

Having replaced normal first choice Darryl Flahavan after the Blues stopper was injured in the warm-up, Collis plunged full-length to deny Finnigan from 12 yards to send Roots Hall wild.

Another stand-in, captain Adam Barrett, then put the home side ahead with a fine left-foot finish in the first period of extra time.

Former Portsmouth striker Bradbury then took over, scoring a penalty himself on 108 minutes after Barrett had been fouled inside the penalty area by Shane Duff.

The forward then completed his treble with three minutes remaining after racing on to a loose ball and firing home from 14 yards out.

Victory put Steve Tilson's men into the second round of the competition and in with a chance of facing one of the Premier League big-boys.

A repeat of last season's heroic win over Manchester United will have to wait, however, as the Red Devils' European commitments mean they will not enter the competition until the third round.

However, there is still a chance for Tilson's men - who beat United 1-0 at Roots Hall thanks to a Freddy Eastwood free-kick last term - could secure a money-spinning tie against another Premier League club in the draw, which will take place tomorrow.