Crewe Alexandra’s slipped to a third consecutive home defeat after Southend's lively striker Joe Pigott netted twice in the second half in between a fine solo goal from Brad Inman.
The match burst into life after the interval with Pigott spinning to shoot past Ben Garratt barely two minutes into the second period before Brad Inman raced clear to score his third goal of the season two minutes later.
Southend’s Play-Off Final hero Pigott restored their lead on 52 minutes but there was a suspicion of offside when David Mooney touched David Worrall’s cross onto the bar and Piggott nodded home from the rebound. Crewe certainly appealed the decision and it certainly looked a tight decision. It would prove decisive as Crewe couldn't find another equaliser in the final 30 minutes.
Steve Davis changed his system and members of his attacking personnel for the visit of Phil Brown’s Southend United side. The Alex boss went with a bold 4-2-3-1 formation with target man Marcus Haber and George Cooper recalled to the starting line-up. Chris Atkinson and Lauri Dalla Valle dropped to the substitutes’ bench alongside youngster Callum Ainley and the on-loan Harry Wilson.
George Ray came in for the injured Harry Davis, with the armband handed to midfielder David Fox.
It was the visitors from Essex who made the more positive start with Stephen Kingsley well placed to block an early shot from David Mooney and then George Ray was called upon to do the same to deny the same player a clean shot at Ben Garratt’s goal.
At the other end of the pitch, Haber had a half chance blocked as Crewe tried to get a foot hold on the game. It was a fairly scrappy opening though from the Alex with Haber finding it difficult to get hold of possession as the lone striker and it appeared that every time Colclough got hold the ball he was fouled.
A good passage of passing involving Adam King and Brad Inman fed Kingsley down the left channel but after cutting back inside he couldn’t keep his shot down enough to draw a save from Dan Bentley.
Southend looked the more likely to open the scoring and Garratt was called upon to tip over a dipping cross from Luke O’Neill and the lively Joe Pigott headed a cross from Dave Worrall onto the top of the netting. Worrall also dragged a tame effort wide after Ben Nugent cut out a long ball from the ball bounced invitingly into the Southend winger's path.
The visitors should have taken the lead on the half an hour mark. Left-back Ben Coker raced beyond Cooper to reach the by-line and his low cut back missed out the Crewe defenders to find Pigott but his powerful drive hit the underside of the crossbar and Ray had to flick the ball away from the line with his heal. It was a left off for the Railwaymen as Pigott should have made sure when the ball found its way to him inside a crowded box.
Garratt was the busier of the two goalkeepers in the first half with Mooney shooting straight at him and the two Crewe centre-halves had to show their desire to keep the ball out of the net by throwing themselves in front of Pigott.
Crewe’s best effort of the first 45 minutes arrived two minutes before the interval when Colclough was again caught, this time by Luke Prosser, who was cautioned for his recklessness.
Kingsley’s well struck free-kick from 25 yards hit the top of the crossbar and rebounded over.
The second half burst into life with Pigott’s turn and shot past Garratt after Leonard reached the by-line and cut the ball back into his path. The lead barely lasted 60 seconds though as Haber won a decisive flick-on to send the pacy Inman through on goal and he made no mistake, slotting it calmly past Bentley for a dramatic equaliser. The response was excellent from the Railwaymen.
Southend went back in front on 52 minutes when Pigott nodded the Shrimpers back in front after it struck the crossbar. Crewe thought there had been an offside in the initial build up and complained until the game restarted.
After falling behind for a second time, Crewe certainly lifted their game and went on the front foot. Kingsley headed an Inman cross over the top of the crossbar and a superb run and cross from Cooper only needed a touch at the far post. Haber also did well to head downwards but no one was there to apply a decisive touch in front of keeper Bentley.
Colclough went on a mazy, forceful run but his cross was eventually cleared by Prosser inside the six yard box before Cooper made way for Ainley.
A double substitution from Steve Davis saw the fresh legs of Atkinson and Wilson introduced and Atkinson had a late shot saved by Bentley. Crewe continued to press forward looking for a share of the points but that one genuine chance never materialised and the in-form Southend held out to claim their fourth win in five games.