Southend returned to the top of npower League Two with a 2-1 victory over Gillingham.
Striker Liam Dickinson's early goal set the Shrimpers on their way to three invaluable points as they condemned Gillingham to a fifth straight defeat in all competitions.
The visitors, on a four-game winless run of their own, took the lead after 10 minutes minutes through Dickinson's 12th goal of the campaign before a Joe Martin own goal doubled their lead, with Gavin Tomlin's late strike reducing the deficit.
Dickinson's opener came after Kane Ferdinand flicked ex-Gill Sean Clohessy's cross into the striker's path inside the box. Four minutes later Bilel Mohsni drew a stinging save from home keeper Paulo Gazzaniga, making his first Gills start, but they did double their lead just after the half-hour mark.
The Gillingham defence was caught napping by a ball over the top and David Martin's low cross was turned in by a combination of his namesake, Joe, and the onrushing Ferdinand.
Gills boss Andy Hessenthaler made a double substitution at half-time and with three minutes remaining they pulled a goal back when Tomlin burst into the area before lashing the ball into the roof of the net.