Braces from Gavin Tomlin and Britt Assombalonga saw Southend end 10-man Torquay's unbeaten home record.
Tomlin rifled through Martin Rice's legs for the first, before Assombalonga ran clear to finish on the break.
The Watford loanee doubled his tally as he headed in Kevan Hurst's cross and former Torquay loanee Tomlin tucked away a fourth after the break.
Ryan Jarvis netted a consolation for the Gulls, who then saw Lee Mansell red-carded for a foul on Assombalonga.
VIEWS FROM THE DRESSING ROOM
Torquay United manager Martin Ling told BBC Radio Devon:
"Southend made us look very poor on the day. That's down to me as the manager, and also the players and the coaching staff, we're all in it together.
"It isn't good enough and the players know that.
"Let's be honest, we're Torquay. There's no money in the coffers to go and get four or five players and replace them all, so we'll stick with the group and the crowd need to stick with us."
Southend manager Paul Sturrock told BBC Essex:
"We've got some good players and everyone fits into the jigsaw puzzle of the team. I'm very pleased.
"The front two have been so exciting. They ran them ragged today.
"(Britt Assombalonga) was starting to worry me. He was having that superstitious stuff about what boots to wear and everything else. I'm glad he's got back on the scoresheet again.
"He's always there or thereabouts, sneaking about the box. He's not just a finisher, for a young boy he's got a great career down the line."
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Live Text Commentary
Full Time The referee signals the end of the game.90:00 +0:52
Unfair challenge on Kevan Hurst by Ryan Jarvis results in a free kick. Ryan Cresswell takes the direct free kick.90:00 +0:11
Unfair challenge on Ryan Cresswell by Aaron Downes results in a free kick. Paul Smith takes the free kick.89:43
Foul by Sean Clohessy on Ryan Jarvis, free kick awarded. Kevin Nicholson takes the direct free kick.88:48
Rene Howe takes a shot. Ryan Cresswell gets a block in.87:40
Kevin Nicholson takes the outswinging corner, Luke Prosser makes a clearance.86:24
Joe Oastler delivers the ball.83:16 Substitution
Substitution Freddy Eastwood joins the action as a substitute, replacing Britt Assombalonga.82:31
Corner taken left-footed by Kevin Nicholson, Ryan Cresswell makes a clearance.80:55
Kevin Nicholson sends in a cross, Paul Smith makes a clearance.79:51 Booking
Booking Mark Phillips is shown a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.78:36
The referee penalises Niall Thompson for handball. Direct free kick taken by Ryan Cresswell.77:37
Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Kevan Hurst, clearance made by Ryan Jarvis.76:30
Centre by Niall Thompson.75:55
Rene Howe delivers the ball, Paul Smith makes a save.75:16
Ryan Jarvis concedes a free kick for a foul on Ryan Cresswell. Direct free kick taken by Paul Smith.73:25
The assistant referee signals for offside against Michael Timlin. Martin Rice restarts play with the free kick.72:39
The ball is crossed by Barry Corr, clearance made by Paul Smith.70:17
Unfair challenge on Britt Assombalonga by Brian Saah results in a free kick. Kevan Hurst takes the free kick. Corner taken by Kevan Hurst from the left by-line, Ryan Jarvis manages to make a clearance.68:37 Substitution
Substitution Chris Barker goes off and Luke Prosser comes on.
Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Nathan Craig from the right by-line to the near post, Michael Timlin makes a clearance.65:05 Substitution
Substitution Barry Corr on for Gavin Tomlin.64:00
Corner taken by Kevan Hurst.62:48
The referee blows for offside. Paul Smith restarts play with the free kick.61:13 Booking
Booking The referee shows Rene Howe a yellow card.60:56 Booking
Booking Chris Barker goes into the book for unsporting behaviour.58:52 Substitution
Substitution Billy Bodin leaves the field to be replaced by Thomas Cruise.58:25
Corner taken by Nathan Craig from the right by-line played to the near post, Michael Timlin makes a clearance.57:44
Marc Laird challenges Rene Howe unfairly and gives away a free kick. Nathan Craig restarts play with the free kick.55:41 Booking
Booking Lee Mansell goes into the referee's book for unsporting behaviour.53:24
Corner taken left-footed by Nathan Craig to the near post, clearance made by Michael Timlin.52:51
Ryan Cresswell challenges Rene Howe unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Nathan Craig.51:32
Assist by Niall Thompson.51:32 Goal scored
Goal! - Ryan Jarvis - Torquay 1 - 4 Southend Ryan Jarvis fires in a goal from inside the six-yard box to the bottom right corner of the goal. Torquay 1-4 Southend.51:13
Niall Thompson delivers the ball,49:45
Kevan Hurst takes the inswinging corner, clearance by Martin Rice.46:00
Mark Phillips provided the assist for the goal.46:00 Goal scored
Goal! - Gavin Tomlin - Torquay 0 - 4 Southend Gavin Tomlin fires in a goal from close range low into the middle of the goal. Torquay 0-4 Southend.45:01
The referee gets the second half underway.45:01 Substitution
Substitution Niall Thompson on for Damon Lathrope.45:01 Substitution
Substitution Ryan Jarvis is brought on as a substitute for Craig Easton.45:00 +1:09 Half time
Half Time The match has reached half-time.44:55
Kevan Hurst provided the assist for the goal.44:55 Goal scored
Goal! - Britt Assombalonga - Torquay 0 - 3 Southend Britt Assombalonga finds the back of the net with a goal from close range to the bottom left corner of the goal. Torquay 0-3 Southend.44:11
The ball is delivered by Kevan Hurst,38:42
Gavin Tomlin provided the assist for the goal.38:42 Goal scored
Goal! - Britt Assombalonga - Torquay 0 - 2 Southend Britt Assombalonga grabs a goal from inside the penalty box to the bottom right corner of the goal. Torquay 0-2 Southend.35:10
Tamika Mkandawire concedes a free kick for a foul on Billy Bodin. Free kick crossed left-footed by Nathan Craig from centre of penalty area, Michael Timlin manages to make a clearance. Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Kevin Nicholson played to the near post.32:47
Unfair challenge on Rene Howe by Mark Phillips results in a free kick. Kevin Nicholson takes the direct free kick.31:59
Damon Lathrope takes a shot. Save made by Paul Smith.31:17
Effort on goal by Britt Assombalonga from deep inside the penalty area misses to the right of the goal.30:07
Marc Laird takes a shot. Save by Martin Rice.26:30
Free kick awarded for a foul by Aaron Downes on Britt Assombalonga. Kevan Hurst takes the free kick.25:36
The ball is sent over by Craig Easton.23:52
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Billy Bodin by Mark Phillips. Joe Oastler takes the direct free kick.23:14
Gavin Tomlin produces a right-footed shot from the edge of the box and misses to the right of the target.22:30
Michael Timlin crosses the ball.21:13
Unfair challenge on Gavin Tomlin by Joe Oastler results in a free kick. Chris Barker restarts play with the free kick.19:42
Lee Mansell challenges Tamika Mkandawire unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Michael Timlin.18:12
Unfair challenge on Ryan Cresswell by Rene Howe results in a free kick. Paul Smith takes the free kick.17:16
Sean Clohessy delivers the ball, Aaron Downes manages to make a clearance.15:56
Corner taken by Nathan Craig from the right by-line played to the near post, clearance by Marc Laird.13:37
Tamika Mkandawire produces a cross, Brian Saah makes a clearance.12:02
Mark Phillips gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Rene Howe. Kevin Nicholson restarts play with the free kick.11:01
Outswinging corner taken by Kevin Nicholson from the left by-line played to the near post, Michael Timlin makes a clearance.9:20
The assist for the goal came from Britt Assombalonga.9:20 Goal scored
Goal! - Gavin Tomlin - Torquay 0 - 1 Southend Gavin Tomlin gets on the score sheet with a goal from inside the box to the bottom left corner of the goal. Torquay 0-1 Southend.8:14
Volleyed shot by Craig Easton.7:54
Centre by Kevin Nicholson, clearance by Ryan Cresswell.7:41
Brian Saah fouled by Tamika Mkandawire, the ref awards a free kick. Lee Mansell takes the direct free kick.6:08
Unfair challenge on Aaron Downes by Britt Assombalonga results in a free kick. Kevin Nicholson takes the free kick.4:13
Sean Clohessy delivers the ball, Nathan Craig makes a clearance. Corner taken right-footed by Kevan Hurst from the right by-line, Billy Bodin manages to make a clearance.1:59
The ball is crossed by Rene Howe, clearance made by Sean Clohessy.0:08
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Aaron Downes by Britt Assombalonga. Martin Rice takes the direct free kick.0:00
The match has kicked off.
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