SOUTHEND United are through to the last 16 of the Checkatrade Trophy after a penalty shoot-out success at Luton Town tonight.

Blues triumphed 4-2 on spot-kicks with Shawn McCoulsky netting the winning effort after shot-stopper Mark Oxley had saved two of the Hatters’ penalties.

The tie had ended 1-1 after 90 minutes with Stephen McLaughlin cancelling out Arthur Read’s opener for the hosts just two minutes from time.

But, before the late drama, Blues began brightly with Dru Yearwood scuffing a shot from Theo Robinson’s right wing cross before Taylor Moore volleyed over from 20 yards.

Moments later, Hatters striker Danny Hylton sent a shot wide of the left post before the Shrimpers came close to breaking the deadlock when Yearwood rolled a pass into the path of Stephen Hendrie who sent a well struck shot wide of the right post from 20 yards.

After the break, Frankie Musonda’s clearance stopped Jorge Grant putting Robinson’s right wing cross into his own net before Yearwood fired inches wide of the left post from 20 yards.

Moments later, Shawn McCoulsky fired a tame effort straight at Luton goalkeeper Marek Stech before the Hatters hit back with Hylton heading Musonda’s cross from the right wide of the right post from close range.

But, after surviving the scares, Luton - who had made 11 changes to their starting line-up hit back and came close to opening the scoring in the 62nd minute when Kazenga LuaLua’s powerful shot was saved by Blues goalkeeper Mark Oxley before Hylton headed the rebound against the crossbar.

Shrimpers boss Chris Powell responded by making his first change of the night with McLaughlin replacing Hendrie at left wing back.

However, in the 81st minute Luton went in front when Alan Sheehan’s left wing free-kick was headed out by Moore into the path of Read whose 25 yard shot seemed to take a deflection off of Moore before flying into the roof of the net.

But Blues dug deep and hit back to equalise in the 88th minute when McLaughlin’s skimming effort from 25 yards hit Hatters defender Dan Potts and looped up into the back of the net to take the tie to penalties.

Lloyd Jones saw Luton’s first spot-kick saved by Oxley but referee Darren Drysdale ordered a retake which he fired into the bottom left hand corner of the net.

The next three penalties also hit the back of the net with Sam Mantom and Michael Kightly scoring for Blues before Aaron Jarvis saw his effort saved by Oxley.

McLaughlin netted next for the Shrimpers before Oxley did well to keep out Hylton’s effort before McCoulsky cooly sent the winning spot kick into the right hand side of the net.