Southend United manager Phil Brown heaped praise on his players after a comprehensive 3-0 win against promotion rivals Chesterfield at Roots Hall in Sky Bet League 2.

Goals from Kevan Hurst, Ryan Leonard and Barry Corr saw the in-form Shrimpers come out on top.

And that delighted Brown, whose side have now been beaten just once in their last 15 games.

"It was a magnificent result and a magnificent performance too I thought," said Brown.

"We were up against a very good side in Chesterfield but I think we've put down another marker here, but we need to keep it going

"Chesterfield were still able to have a barrage of shots and Daniel Bentley was top class for us in goal.

"He has the potential to go all the way in this league and I just hope it's with me.

"The only down side was the thigh injury our new signing Luke O'Neill suffered on his debut but hopefully we got him off in time before it got too bad.

"We can now really focus on the FA Cup game with Hull and it's one we're certainly all looking forward to."

Hurst sent the Shrimpers on their way by opening the scoring against his former side in the 28th minute.

The winger latched on to a low left-wing cross from Anthony Straker and tapped home his 10th goal of the season from inside the six-yard box.

Southend doubled their lead in the 59th minute when Michael Timlin sent Leonard charging through and the midfielder beat the advancing Tommy Lee with a prodded finish from 12 yards.

Two minutes later the Shrimpers made it 3-0 when Corr collected a pass from substitute Adam Thompson before lifting the ball past Lee.

And a miserable day for the Spireites was made worse in the 70th minute when Marc Richards saw his penalty impressively tipped around a post by Bentley, before the young stopper somehow tipped Dan Gardner's effort over the crossbar.

That frustrated Chesterfield boss Paul Cook but he believes Southend will be bidding for promotion this season.

"This was always going to be difficult but credit to Southend, they're a very powerful side and you know they will be in the shake up come the end of the season," said Cook.

"I thought going forward we stuck at it and created chances but that's not enough.

"One slip up by Drew Talbot has cost us with the first goal, especially when a team are at home they get in the ascendency and the crowd get behind them.

"But the main thing now is we look to Tuesday against another team around us, with Rochdale coming up, and focus on picking ourselves up and getting a result."