STEPHEN Humphrys bagged a late winner to keep Southend United in League One with a 2-1 victory against Sunderland at Roots Hall.

The Shrimpers seemed to be heading back into League Two after Chris Maguire’s penalty cancelled out John White’s opener for Blues.

But Humphrys’ 87th minute goal sparked wild scenes as Southend stayed up on goal difference.

With seven minutes on the clock, Blues wasted a golden chance to score as Dru Yearwood raced onto a deflected pass from Simon Cox only to see his effort blocked by Sunderland goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin.

Moments later, Yearwood wasted another fine opportunity to score as he sliced Sam Mantom’s left wing cross well wide of the right post from 12 yards.

Sunderland replied with Chris Maguire shooting inches wide of the right post from 12 yards before the Black Cats winger saw a long range shot smothered by Oxley.

The visitors soon threatened again when Lynden Gooch firing wide of the far post when left unmarked in the left hand side of the penalty area.

But, after surviving the scares, Blues hit back to open the scoring in the 43rd minute when McLaughlin’s right wing corner was headed back into the box and White netted with an overhead kick.

After the break, McLaughlin fired wide with an ambitious free-kick from a narrow angle before the visitors hit back to enjoy their spell of the pressure.

The Shrimpers stood firm and boss Kevin Bond made his first change of the afternoon in the 69th minute with Michael Kightly coming on to replace Sam Hart.

A second alteration soon followed with Timothee Dieng replacing Yearwood but Sunderland remained on top and drew back level in the 75th minute with Maguire on target from the penalty spot.

The penalty was awarded by referee Darren Bond after White challenged Charlie Wyke in the box and Maguire made no mistake from 12 yards as his effort flew into the bottom left hand corner of the net, despite Oxley getting a hand to it.

However, Blues were still able to hit back and three minutes from time Humphrys netted with a low, right foot finish to keep Kevin Bond’s side in League One.