Anthony Wordsworth scored twice as Colchester defeated a luckless Southend on an atrocious pitch at the Weston Homes Community Stadium.
Skipper Adam Barrett tried to clear a weak Wordsworth strike but his foot stuck in the sand close to the goal and the ball dribbled over the line.
After the break, Wordsworth added to his tally from close range after Southend failed to clear a corner.
Barrett later headed home but his goal was disallowed for a foul.
Wordsworth has now scored in his last three encounters against Essex rivals Southend, who can consider themselves unfortunate to have trailed at the break.
Steve Tilson's team fell behind after three minutes through a goal that will leave Barrett embarrassed.
Had the defender not tried to clear Wordsworth's shot then goalkeeper Steve Mildenhall would have probably saved the Colchester midfielder's effort.
But the visiting team dominated large periods of the match and continually tried to force their way back into the contest, with Damian Scannell a particular menace from wide areas, while Ben Williams denied Francis Laurent and Scott Spencer.
However, their hopes of taking something from the game suffered a serious blow when Colchester scored their second after 62 minutes.
Kayode Odejayi headed back across goal from a corner, Southend failed to clear and Wordsworth slotted home from six yards.
Laurent and Franck Moussa both had strikes saved by Williams as Colchester recorded their 12th victory in 15 home matches to strengthen their grip on fourth place and keep the pressure on the leaders in League One.
Colchester United assistant manager John Ward told BBC Essex:
"Yes it was an odd goal, the first one, and you're grateful it goes in your favour.
"It's happened for us and you take your breaks.
"But I thought we survived that bit of little bit of pressure at the beginning of the second half and I thought we gave a really good account for the majority of the game."
Southend United manager Steve Tilson told BBC Essex:
"It's a disappointing result, but I'm pleased with the performance.
"On a very poor pitch I thought we played some good stuff and created some good chances.
"But we've given two soft goals away tonight which has caused us to get nothing out of the game."
Live text and stats
Monday, 8 February 2010
Npower League One
08 O'Toole (Ifil 50)
10 Izzet yellow card
22 Wordsworth (I Henderson 85)
15 Odejayi (Gillespie 78)
16 I Henderson,
26 Laurent yellow card
28 Spencer (Paterson 73)
Ref: MillerAtt: 6,466
Attempts on target
Attempts off target
90:00+3:37 The referee signals the end of the game.
85:22 Steven Gillespie concedes a free kick for a foul on Adam Barrett. Steve Mildenhall takes the free kick.
83:40 Ben Williams restarts play with the free kick.
83:40 Substitution Ian Henderson replaces Anthony Wordsworth.
83:40 Corner taken by Simon Francis from the left by-line, Matt Heath fouled by Adam Barrett, the ref awards a free kick.
83:27 Franck Moussa takes a shot. Save by Ben Williams.
82:44 Unfair challenge on Simon Francis by Anthony Wordsworth results in a free kick. Scott Malone takes the direct free kick.
80:48 Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Scott Malone, save by Ben Williams.
79:12 Corner taken by Anthony Wordsworth from the right by-line, Simon Francis makes a save.
78:57 Steven Gillespie takes a shot. Save by Steve Mildenhall.
77:21 Substitution Steven Gillespie comes on in place of Kayode Odejayi.
76:34 Matthew Paterson takes a shot. Save made by Ben Williams.
75:53 Foul by Kayode Odejayi on Jean Yves Mvoto, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Steve Mildenhall.
73:05 The offside flag is raised against Francis Laurent. Indirect free kick taken by Ben Williams.
72:21 Substitution Matthew Paterson comes on in place of Scott Spencer.
71:43 The referee gives a free kick against Kayode Odejayi for handball. Steve Mildenhall takes the free kick.
67:00 The assistant referee flags for offside against Scott Spencer. Ben Williams takes the indirect free kick.
64:37 Francis Laurent takes a shot. Save by Ben Williams.
62:44 The official flags Kayode Odejayi offside. Indirect free kick taken by Steve Mildenhall.
61:35 Assist on the goal came from Kayode Odejayi.
61:35 GOAL - Anthony Wordsworth:Colchester 2 - 0 Southend Anthony Wordsworth gets on the score sheet with a goal from inside the six-yard box low into the middle of the goal. Colchester
61:20 Corner taken by David Prutton from the left by-line,
Correction - 59:51 Free kick awarded for a foul by Simon Francis on Anthony Wordsworth. Direct free kick taken by Ben Williams.
59:51 Foul by Simon Francis on Anthony Wordsworth, free kick awarded. Matt Heath takes the free kick.
58:26 Scott Malone takes the direct free kick.
58:26 Booking Kemal Izzet booked.
58:11 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Damian Scannell by Kemal Izzet.
56:39 Scott Spencer takes a shot. Blocked by Kemal Izzet.
55:48 Damian Scannell takes a shot. John White gets a block in. Corner taken by Scott Malone from the right by-line, clearance
made by David Prutton.
53:52 Marc Tierney concedes a free kick for a foul on Francis Laurent. Scott Malone crosses the ball in from the free kick.
52:44 Marc Tierney challenges Damian Scannell unfairly and gives away a free kick. The free kick is swung in left-footed by Scott
48:52 Simon Francis takes the free kick.
48:52 Substitution Philip Ifil is brought on as a substitute for John-Joe O'Toole.
48:52 Francis Laurent fouled by Matt Heath, the ref awards a free kick.
Correction - 47:19 The ball is delivered by David Prutton, save by Steve Mildenhall.
47:19 Centre by Anthony Wordsworth, save made by Steve Mildenhall.
45:33 Shot on goal by John-Joe O'Toole from inside the box goes harmlessly over the target.
45:01 The game restarts for the second half.
45:00+1:42 The first half comes to an end.
45:00+0:45 Marc Tierney challenges Simon Francis unfairly and gives away a free kick. Scott Malone delivers the ball from the free kick
left-footed from right wing, John White manages to make a clearance.
44:22 Effort from deep inside the area by Francis Laurent misses to the left of the target.
43:02 Unfair challenge on Jean Francois Christophe by Matt Heath results in a free kick. Simon Francis restarts play with the free
42:28 John-Joe O'Toole has an effort at goal from the edge of the area that misses to the right of the target.
40:19 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on John White by Francis Laurent. Ben Williams takes the free kick.
38:49 Scott Spencer takes a shot. Ben Williams makes a save.
38:30 Centre by Marc Tierney, Steve Mildenhall makes a save.
37:21 John White gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Francis Laurent. Sanchez Watt takes the free kick.
36:23 Shot from a long way out by John-Joe O'Toole goes wide of the left-hand post.
36:10 A cross is delivered by Franck Moussa, Ben Williams makes a save.
34:46 The ball is swung over by Kayode Odejayi.
32:23 Simon Francis crosses the ball, save made by Ben Williams.
27:17 A cross is delivered by Marc Tierney, save by Steve Mildenhall. John-Joe O'Toole delivers the ball, Kayode Odejayi takes a
shot. Save made by Steve Mildenhall.
26:32 The ball is delivered by Adam Barrett, Ben Williams makes a save.
25:46 Scott Malone takes the inswinging corner, clearance made by Clive Platt.
Correction - 24:02 Free kick taken by Magnus Okuonghae.
24:02 John White takes the free kick.
24:02 Booking Francis Laurent goes into the book for unsporting behaviour.
Correction - 23:23 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Magnus Okuonghae by Francis Laurent.
23:23 Francis Laurent gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Magnus Okuonghae.
22:14 Adam Barrett gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Kayode Odejayi. John White takes the free kick.
21:37 Header from close in by Jean Francois Christophe misses to the left of the target.
20:29 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Scott Spencer by John-Joe O'Toole. Scott Malone restarts play with the free kick.
18:01 The referee blows for offside. Ben Williams takes the free kick.
17:36 David Prutton takes a shot. Sanchez Watt gets a block in.
16:35 The ball is sent over by Kayode Odejayi, save by Steve Mildenhall.
14:13 Shot from just outside the area by Anthony Wordsworth misses to the left of the target.
12:42 Francis Laurent takes a shot. Save by Ben Williams.
11:12 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on John-Joe O'Toole by Franck Moussa. Ben Williams restarts play with the free kick.
Correction - 9:24 Anthony Wordsworth takes a inswinging corner from the left by-line to the near post, clearance by Simon Francis.
9:24 Inswinging corner taken right-footed by John-Joe O'Toole played to the near post, Simon Francis makes a clearance.
5:30 The referee blows for offside. Ben Williams takes the indirect free kick.
5:05 Short corner taken by Simon Francis.
4:24 Kemal Izzet gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Sanchez Watt. Direct free kick taken by Steve Mildenhall.
2:58 GOAL - Anthony Wordsworth:Colchester 1 - 0 Southend Anthony Wordsworth scores a goal from close range to the bottom right corner of the goal. Colchester 1-0 Southend.
0:00 The ref blows the whistle to start the match.
Live text and data provided by The Press Association.
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