A SECOND half hat-trick from Erhun Oztumer handed Walsall a shock 3-0 win at Southend United.

The Shrimpers’ ground staff and their fans had fought hard to get the game on at Roots Hall, clearing snow off the pitch on the morning of the match.

But it was Saddlers who were more grateful for the game going ahead as Jon Whitney’s side secured their first away win since November.

The defeat was also Chris Powell’s first becoming Southend boss at the end of January.

However, it was the Shrimpers who threatened first with Simon Cox having a low shot smothered by Walsall goalkeeper Liam Roberts before Freddie Ladapo headed Shayon Harrison’s left wing cross over the crossbar from 12 yards.

Moments later, Cox’s header from Stephen McLaughlin’s right wing cross was held by Roberts before the Shrimpers striker curled a 20 yard shot straight at the Saddlers custodian.

After surviving the scares, the visitors soon hit back with Julien Ngoy having a shot blocked by Southend defender Michael Turner before Walsall came even closer to taking the lead when Kieron Morris cut in off the right flank and sent a long range effort inches wide of the left post.

With the visitors starting to get more into the game, Ngoy then curled a 20 yard shot wide of the right post before the speedy striker was denied by Southend goalkeeper Mark Oxley at the start of the second half.

But the Shrimpers soon replied and wasted a golden chance to score when former Walsall right-back Jason Demetriou delivered a deep cross to the far post where on-loan Tottenham Hotspur youngster Shayon Harrison volleyed over from close range.

The Saddlers hit back with Maz Kouhyar sending a low 20 yard shot just past the right post before the visitors broke the deadlock in the 57th minute with Oztumer on target.

The attacking midfielder cut in from the right hand side and unleashed a low effort 20 yard shot which bounced just in front of Oxley and deceived the Shrimpers shot-stopper.

Oztumer was it again just nine minutes later when he doubled the Saddlers’ lead with a fine 25, yard free-kick which he accurately curled into the bottom right hand corner of the net for his 15th goal of the season.

Shrimpers boss Powell immediately responded by introducing both Michael Kightly and Marc-Antoine Fortune in quick succession.

But Walsall stood strong and Oztumer completed his hat-trick with another neat finish five minutes from time as he clinically converted a left wing cross from Luke Leahy.