Gavin Tomlin's late winner saw Southend end a run of three league defeats with a narrow victory at Chesterfield.
In a lacklustre first half, Spireites striker Marc Richards almost broke the deadlock when he struck the bar.
Soon after Richards' powerful strike forced Shrimpers keeper Paul Smith into a smart stop.
The visitors created little throughout the match but claimed all three points when Michael Timlin sent Tomlin clear, who slotted home.
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Chesterfield manager Paul Cook told BBC Radio Sheffield:
"The level of performance, in my opinion, wasn't great. You've got you move the ball quickly, you've got to get round the back of teams who defend, and you have to put quality in the box.
"I don't mind saying that we want a well-balanced team at the club that can go right to left and put quality in the box.
"Our lads tried their best today and I have to problem with that. Unfortunately our willingness to try and win the game cost us."
Southend United manager Paul Sturrock told BBC Essex:
"I didn't think we played well today. I thought in the second half we worked very, very hard and got in the right areas a couple of times.
"But generally we were sloppy with our passing. A draw would have been a fair result.
"To be fair, there's been games where we've been away from home and deserved much more than we've actually got. It's swings and roundabouts.
"I'm delighted with the attitude of the players, the work-rate was immense and our shape was better in the second half."
Live Text Commentary
Full Time The final whistle is blown by the referee.90:00 +2:05
Short corner taken by Kevan Hurst from the right by-line.90:00 +1:13
Conor Townsend takes a outswinging corner to the near post, clearance made by Barry Corr.90:00 +0:39
Conor Townsend has an effort at goal from 18 yards. Save made by Paul Smith.88:45
Corner from left by-line taken by James O'Shea.86:07 Substitution
Substitution Armand Gnanduillet on for Neal Trotman.84:52
The offside flag is raised against Kevan Hurst. Tommy Lee takes the free kick.83:01 Booking
Booking Booking for Gavin Tomlin.82:44
The assist for the goal came from Michael Timlin.82:44 Goal scored
Goal! - Gavin Tomlin - Chesterfld 0 - 1 Southend Gavin Tomlin fires in a goal from inside the penalty box to the bottom right corner of the goal. Chesterfield 0-1 Southend.79:53 Substitution
Substitution Danny Whitaker goes off and Conor Townsend comes on.77:19
Free kick awarded for a foul by Liam Cooper on Ryan Leonard. Kevan Hurst takes the direct free kick.76:52
Michael Spillane takes a shot. Save by Tommy Lee.75:27
James O'Shea takes a shot from just outside the penalty area clears the crossbar.72:31
Handball by Marc Richards. Paul Smith restarts play with the free kick.70:11
Unfair challenge on Sam Togwell by Gavin Tomlin results in a free kick. Sam Hird takes the direct free kick.69:32
Danny Whitaker produces a right-footed shot from just outside the area that goes harmlessly over the target.68:09
The assistant referee signals for offside against Gavin Tomlin. Tommy Lee takes the indirect free kick.67:13
Nathan Smith takes a shot. Save made by Paul Smith.65:19
Unfair challenge on Barry Corr by Jack Lester results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Kevan Hurst.
Barry Corr fouled by Jack Lester, the ref awards a free kick. Paul Smith takes the direct free kick.63:58
Ryan Leonard concedes a free kick for a foul on Jack Lester. Sam Togwell takes the free kick.63:10 Substitution
Substitution (Chesterfield) makes a substitution, with Jack Lester coming on for Tendayi Darikwa.60:10
Nathan Smith gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Ryan Leonard. Free kick taken by Paul Smith.57:54
Barry Corr is caught offside. Tommy Lee takes the indirect free kick.57:07
Shot from inside the area by Mark Phillips clears the bar.56:04
The assistant referee signals for offside against Barry Corr. Tommy Lee takes the free kick.55:07
The referee blows for offside. Tommy Lee takes the free kick.53:20
Barry Corr challenges Liam Cooper unfairly and gives away a free kick. Sam Togwell restarts play with the free kick.52:06
Danny Whitaker has an effort at goal from outside the box which goes wide right of the target.49:32
Kevan Hurst challenges Sam Hird unfairly and gives away a free kick. Sam Hird restarts play with the free kick.48:29
Marc Richards gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Michael Spillane. Kevan Hurst takes the free kick. Mark Phillips is ruled offside. Tommy Lee takes the free kick.47:16
Inswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Kevan Hurst, Tommy Lee makes a comfortable save.45:01
The match restarts for the second half.45:00 +1:10 Half time
Half Time The first half comes to an end.44:29
Shot by James O'Shea. Save by Paul Smith.41:25
Chris Barker gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Liam Cooper. Direct strike on goal from the free kick comes in from Marc Richards, Paul Smith makes a brilliant save.39:59
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on James O'Shea by Mark Phillips. Marc Richards has an effort direct from the free kick,38:55
Short corner worked by Danny Whitaker.38:03
Corner taken right-footed by Danny Whitaker from the left by-line, Barry Corr manages to make a clearance.37:13
Foul by Craig Clay on Ryan Leonard, free kick awarded. Paul Smith takes the direct free kick.31:16
Shot from just outside the box by Craig Clay misses to the right of the goal.28:12
Foul by Sam Togwell on Barry Corr, free kick awarded. Sean Clohessy takes the free kick.27:35
Effort from just outside the area by Marc Richards goes over the target.25:21
Ryan Leonard is penalised for a handball. Tommy Lee takes the free kick.23:58
Corner taken right-footed by Danny Whitaker from the right by-line, Mark Phillips manages to make a clearance.18:39
Unfair challenge on Danny Whitaker by Barry Corr results in a free kick. Liam Cooper restarts play with the free kick.17:48
Neal Trotman fouled by Barry Corr, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Sam Hird.17:12
Kevan Hurst has an effort at goal from just outside the box which goes wide of the right-hand upright.14:43
Free kick awarded for a foul by James O'Shea on Ryan Leonard. Paul Smith takes the direct free kick.12:36
Free kick awarded for a foul by Sam Togwell on Ryan Leonard. Direct free kick taken by Mark Phillips.10:09
Marc Richards challenges Mark Phillips unfairly and gives away a free kick. Paul Smith takes the direct free kick.8:27
Tendayi Darikwa takes a shot. Comfortable save by Paul Smith.7:16
Free kick awarded for a foul by Ryan Leonard on Nathan Smith. The free kick is swung in right-footed by Danny Whitaker, clearance by Michael Timlin.4:02
Gavin Tomlin takes a shot from 12 yards. Fantastic save by Tommy Lee.1:17
Foul by Michael Timlin on Tendayi Darikwa, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Sam Hird.0:00
The match begins.
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