Manager Paul Sturrock is hoping Southend's first win of 2013 will reignite the club's season after a Gavin Tomlin goal was enough to earn all three points at Chesterfield.
Tomlin struck late on after Southend had soaked up pressure to end a run of three straight league defeats and halt the host's bid to close in on the top seven.
"That was a hard-working performance from us," Sturrock said. "It wasn't pretty but sometimes you have to go away from home and soak things up.
"We came to Chesterfield, who by all accounts had run over the top of Northampton here a couple of weeks ago, so when you think of that then the boys have done well for us.
"We didn't play well but football is a strange game. We've played much better than this and lost this season so we will take this against a good side."
Chesterfield manager Paul Cook felt his team were unlucky to lose.
Marc Richards struck the crossbar with a thunderous free-kick just before half-time but Cook's side were stunned with a sucker punch with seven minutes remaining when Michael Timlin robbed Sam Togwell inside the Chesterfield half and sent Tomlin clear and he placed a right-foot shot inside Tommy Lee's left-hand post.
Cook said: "I think we did enough to certainly not get beat. But what we have to be careful of is that when we don't win, we don't lose. It's a bit of a problem for us at the minute that when we do okay, we end up losing.
"Every game is a big opportunity in this league, every single game you play you must respect. It's irrelevant who you play, there's no such thing as an easy game and you must prepare properly.
"It's all about what you do and your preparation and when you've finished the game, you've done everything in your power to win and certainly we didn't do that and it wasn't our day."