DEBUTANT Reeco Hackett-Fairchild fired 10 man Southend United to a crucial 1-0 win against relegation rivals Barrow.

The on loan Hackett-Fairchild superbly fired home the only goal of the game after just three minutes as the Shrimpers moved to within one point of safety.

But Blues were forced to play the remaining 38 minutes with a numerical disadvantage after experienced defender Greg Halford was sent off.

Southend started brightly and bagged what proved to the be the only goal of the game early on with Hackett-Fairchild making an impressive impression.

The on loan Portsmouth man cut in from the right hand side and sent a brilliant left footed shot flying into the bottom left hand corner of the net from 20 yards.

Barrow soon hit back with Luke James seeing his curling effort tipped over the crossbar by Blues goalkeeper Mark Oxley.

After surviving the scare, Southend replied with Timothee Dieng playing in Elvis Bwomono only for the right-back to see his low shot well saved by the advancing Joel Dixon.

Dieng then fired over from long range before Barrow also threatened with Josh Kay cutting in from the left hand side before firing straight at Oxley from a promising position.

After the break, Hackett-Fairchild fired over after more good work down the right flank before Blues were reduced to 10 men in the 52nd minute with Halford being sent off.

The experienced defender was shown a second yellow card after a poorly timely changed on Scott Quigley.

But, despite the numerical disadvantage, the Shrimpers still threatened next with James Olayinka failing to get a shot away when well placed in front of goal before the ball dropped to Simeon Akinola who fired over.

Blues made then made their first change of the afternoon in the 61st minute with Alan McCormack taking the place of the injured Hackett-Fairchiuld.

The Shrimpers sat back to protect their lead and the visitors almost took advantage with substitute Dior Angus heading over from close range.

The relieved Blues made two more changes in the 81st minute with Richard Taylor and Ashley Nathaniel-George replacing Akinola and Olayinka Nathaniel-George was immediately involved as he charged forward before rolling the ball into the path of McCormack who fired over from close range.

But Blues were not made to pay for the lack of a second goal as they dug deep to secure a vital victory.