Cheltenham manager Mark Yates was delighted by the reaction showed by his side as they surged in to the automatic promotion places with a 2-1 win at Southend United.

The Robins boss was left furious by a 1-0 defeat at Dagenham & Redbridge at the weekend, but Cheltenham were able to avoid a double Essex defeat by securing a well deserved win at Roots Hall to move up to third in the League Two table.

"We performed heroically on the whole and I thought we thoroughly deserved our win," said Yates. "The players knew I was disappointed with Saturday and I wanted the reaction we got.

"There was energy and desire and we started off very positively which put us in a great position. It is an excellent three points for us because Southend is not an easy place to come to and this shows where we want to be at the end of the season."

Midfielder Marlon Pack, who almost joined Swindon on transfer deadline day, put Cheltenham in front from the penalty spot in the 13th minute after Shrimpers midfielder Alex Woodyard had needlessly brought down Russ Penn inside the penalty area.

Paul Benson then doubled Cheltenham's lead in the 39th minute when he capatilised on a defensive mix-up between centre-back Mickey Spillane and goalkeeper Smith to prod the ball in to the back of the net.

The Shrimpers improved in the second half and substitute striker Britt Assombalonga saw a close-range shot ruled out for offside in the 52nd minute. They did grab a last gasp consolation in the dying seconds when Ben Reeves guided a right-footed shot in to the top right hand corner of the net from 12 yards.

But the two bad goals Southend gave away cost them dear and infuriated manager Paul Sturrock.

"We gave away two ridiculous goals and the second one was just farcical," said Sturrock, whose side have slipped to ninth in the table. We had one or two half-chances we could maybe have done better with and, to be fair, the second half was much improved.

"I thought we dominated it but it was too late after the goals we gave away and I also hold my hands up to not picking the right team from the kick-off. The injuries aren't helping and it's unsettling the team but we can't use that as an excuse."