Three second half goals ended Chesterfield’s five-match unbeaten run in League Two.
Former Sheffield United and Rotherham United defender Ryan Cresswell swept the ball home after a couple of on-line blocks from a set-play to set up the win.
Then Gavin Tomlin came to the fore. He got his head to a Kevan Hurst cross and then beat Tommy Lee to the ball after Chris Barker’s dink forward.
To add to Spireites problems last night, Marc Richards was replaced before the break after picking up a hamstring injury.
Paul Sturrock’s Shrimpers went into the game on the back of a 12 match unbeaten run while the Spireites were looking for a fifth win in six outings.
Manager Paul Cook selected the team that won at Port Vale and would’ve played against Burton Albion had Luis Boa Morte not sustained a hamstring issue in the warm up. The Portuguese came in for Brennan Dickenson.
The first half was a real battle with defences coming out on top. With the pitch deteriorating after the week’s heavy rain, Luke Prosser’s battle with Richards was the pick of the duels with the home man generally coming out on top.
A couple of minutes before the break Richards tumbled under pressure from the big man and he was soon replaced by Scott Boden, with Jack Lester banned.
Jay O’Shea came closest after the break, but the visitors were always second best.
Spireites players will have today and tomorrow off and that’ll be it until after the Wycombe Wanderers games on the first weekend of 2013.
n SOUTHEND (4-4-2): Smith 6, Clohessy 7, Cresswell 7, Prosser 9, Barker 6 (Straker 86), Hurst 8, Laird 6, Mkandwire 6, Timlin 6, Assombalonga 7 (Corr 82), Tomlin 8 (Eastwood 82). Substitutes (not used): Bentley, Martin, Donnelly, Phillips.
n Goals: Cresswell 50, Tomlin 60, 70
n CHESTERFIELD (4-4-1-1): Lee 6, Talbot 6, Hird 7, Cooper 7, Smith 8, Darikwa 6, Randall 6 (Clay 72), Togwell 7, Boa Morte 6 (Dickenson 67, 6), O’Shea 6, Richards 6 (Boden 44, 6). Substitutes (not used): O’Donnell, Forbes, Wafula, Townsend
n Referee: Rob Lewis (Shropshire)
n Attendance: 5,273 (217)