FRANCIS Laurent rocked Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday with a stunning late winner for the Shrimpers.

The substitute striker sped into the Seagulls’ penalty area in the first minute of injury time and fired a fantastic finish into the bottom right hand corner of the net to secure Southend United’s first away league win of the season.

Steve Tilson’s side had earlier twice been in front with Lee Barnard and debutant Roy O’Donovan hitting the back of the net but both times their efforts were cancelled out by Brighton’s in-form forward Nicky Forster.

Blues first took the lead after just eight minutes when O’Donovan back-heeled the ball into the path of Simon Francis who delivered a fantastic first time cross from the right hand side which was impressively headed home from eight yards by Barnard.

Brighton should have equalised three minutes later when a right wing cross from Adam Virgo bounced off Jean Yves M’Voto and into the path of Seagulls’ top goalscorer Forster but he volleyed wide of the left post from 12 yards when he should have done better.

Forster made amends in the 21st minute though, when a lack of communication between M’Voto and Adam Barrett meant a long clearance from goalkeeper Michel Kuipers fell into the path of the forward, who delicately chipped the ball over the advancing Steve Mildenhall to equalise.

That made it five scoring games in succession for Forster but Southend were back in front in the 27th minute when a left wing corner from Moussa was headed back across goal by Barrett and O’Donovan tapped home a simple finish from close range.

Brighton immediately rallied with Mildenhall tipping over a header from Tommy Elphick and, from the resulting Arron Davies flag kick, was which only half cleared by the head of Francis, Gary Dicker thumped a deflected volley against the top of the left post.

But the home side were not to denied a second equaliser and they were level again just five minutes before the break when M’Voto failed to deal with a routine ball into the box and Forster turned to fire a low left foot shot into the back of the net.

M’Voto immediately limped off to be replaced by Osei Sankofa in a change which meant Francis moved into the centre of the defence.

Yet, despite the alterations, Southend should have been back ahead on the stoke of half-time when Johnny Herd delivered a fine left wing cross but Jean-Francois Christophe could somehow only head over from six yards.

The Shrimpers were forced into a second change at the back just four minutes into the second period when Herd went off injured and was replaced by a recent loan arrival George Friend.

Brighton attempted to take advantage and a fine volley from the hat-trick-hunting Forster was smartly saved low to his right hand side by Mildenhall before Liam Dickinson fired just wide of the left post.

Blues responded by bringing on Laurent in place of O’Donovan with 16 minutes remaining and, moments after his introduction, a well-struck low shot from Alan McCormack was parried to safety by Kuipers.

Brighton hit back and soon almost netted themselves as Elliott Bennett smashed a 20-yard shot against the right hand side of the crossbar.

The resulting rebound was rolled into Forster’s path by Bennett but his effort was ruled out for offside.

Brighton came close again with Dean Cox firing inches wide of the right post from 20 yards but, in the dying seconds, the Shrimpers made sure of all three points as Laurent netted an excellent individual effort.

There appeared to be little danger when the 23-year-old picked up the ball but he sped past several Brighton defenders before netting from a narrow angle to send Southend up to eighth in the League One table.