Southend boss Mark Moseley lauded his side after they jumped off the foot of the table and out of the relegation zone with a surprise 3-1 victory at title-chasing Forest Green.
Shaun Hobson’s sumptuous first-half volley and Tim Dieng’s strike after the break was crowned by a Nathan Ferguson thunderbolt after 70 minutes.
Jamille Matt pulled a goal back for Rovers in the 86th minute on a chastening night for the hosts.
Moseley said: “We see that in them every day and it’s nice to see it coming together a little bit. It was a good performance from us, and it had to be.
“Forest Green would have gone top if they beat us tonight and they play a very good brand of football. We were organised and we got what we deserved.
“Everyone worked hard for each other. Shaun Hobson has a moment in him. I had him on loan at Weymouth and he scored a couple of belters for them too. He’s got that moment in him and it was a clean strike.
“Fergie’s was a clean strike, but we’ve seen that already from him at Port Vale.
“We asked a lot of questions of them. Emile (Acquah’s) header just went wide in the first half. We had more crosses and shots, and we asked more questions, but we need to continue that. We expect that level of performance from ourselves.”
Southend opened the scoring on 20 minutes – defender Hobson thumping in a volley beyond a static Lewis Thomas after the ball dropped to him on the edge of the box from a partially cleared Kyle Taylor free-kick.
Rovers had to wait until the 45th minute to muster their first shot in anger – Odin Bailey inducing a gloved response from Mark Oxley.
Southend made it two when Simeon Akinola drove into the box for Dieng to curl home from inside the box on 55 minutes. And Ferguson’s howitzer from 35 yards was the pick of the goals with 20 minutes to go.
Matt’s 12th goal of the season from a Jake Young cross with four minutes to go was scant reward for Rovers as Southend moved majestically out of the Sky Bet League Two drop zone.
Rovers boss Mark Cooper refused to press the panic button, saying: “Sometimes it happens, players just need to dust themselves down. If we look too much into it, you will end up topping yourself, so we must move on.
“We didn’t commit, and you’ve got to win a lot of personal battles and we were far from our levels tonight.
“We take our medicine and take it on the chin. I haven’t put any pressure on the players and not even discussed our league position, we only talk about the game in front of us, but full credit to Southend.”