Good Town away performance topped off with El-Abd strike
Southend United: Mark Oxley, Ben Croker, Anthony Wandsworth, Adam Thompson, Simon Cox, Stephen McLaughlin (Luke O'Neil 78), Will Atkinson (Jermaine McGlashan 63), Marc-Antoine Fortune (Jason Williams 88), Ryan Leonard, Jason Demetriou, Anton Ferdinand (c)
Subs: Ted Smith, John White, Adam King, Ryan Inniss
Town: Jayson Leutwiler, Mat Sadler, Ian Black (Jim O'Brien 84), Abu Ogogo, Ivan Toney, Louis Dodds, Junior Brown, Dom Smith, Antoni Sarcevic (Andy Mangan 55), Gary Deegan, Adam El-Abd (c)
Subs: Mark Halstead, AJ Leitch-Smith, Moha Choulay, George Waring, Sylvan Ebanks-Blake
Ref: Chris Sarginson
Assistants: Kevin Howick and Dave Bushell
Fourth Official: Craig Hicks
Attendance: 7,231 (with 204 from Town)
Paul Hurst takes charge of his first game as Town manager with a touch looking fixture away to in form Southend United.
Injuries and suspensions mean there are changes from the side that ended the 4-2 home defeat to Northampton Town. Ryan McGivern is suspended while Olly Lancashire and Joe Riley are injured while George Waring drops to the bench, in come Dom Smith, Adam El-Abd, Gary Deegan and Antoni Sarcevic.
Town made a bright start to the game and were getting some good pressure around the Southend box. There were a couple of free-kicks and corners that caused problems but there was no end product for Town.
At the other end Southend were getting into some good positions and when a Atkinson cross took a deflection the ball squirmed it's way across the face of the Town goal but Brown was there to turn the ball behind for a corner.
There was a heart stopping moment for Town after Fortune received the ball in the Town box, he had his back to goal and tried to turn El-Abd who was standing strong, Fortune went to ground and ref Sarginson was pointing towards the spot but luckily for Town he was actually pointing for a Town goal kick.
Leutwiler cleared long down field to find Toney, he brought the ball down and kept possession to bring others into play, he played a one two and found the space on the edge of the box to get a shot in but it lacked the pace to trouble Oxley in the Southend goal.
Town got their noses in front and it started with a Junior Brown free-kick that rebound off the wall, the ball was put back into the edge of the box fro Toney, he chested it down to El-Abd who hit a sweetly hit half volley that flew in from 25 yards out to make it 1-0 to Town.
Moments later Town were still putting the pressure on and when nicked the ball of a Southend player who drove for goal, put it onto his left foot and hit in a lovely looking shot that beat Oxley but the post was there to deny Town a second.
The scores were level on 39 minutes after Southend counter attacked down their left, Cox played a ball for McLaughlin to run onto, he was in and drove into the box before hitting a low shot that went under Leutwiler to make it 1-1.
Town then picked up a couple of bookings in quick succession with first Deegan picking up a yellow after a challenge which didn't seem too over the top, then moments later is was Black who was in the book after the ref adjudged he hadn't retreated the correct 10 yards when he was defending a Southend free-kick.
After the restart both teams were trying to get on top but the game was a little flat at times with play breaking up. Town were trying to get things going from set-pieces and a free-kick driven into the back post by El-Abd saw Town win a corner.
Paul Hurst made his first change on 55 minutes bringing on Andy Mangan on to replace Antoni Sarcevic in what looked like a little switch in formation to two up front.
Toney had been having a good battle with Thompson all game with the Southend defender doing all he could to keep Toney from getting the advantage. Then the ball dropped to Toney just inside the Town half he showed good strength to hold off Thompson and then get away but all Thompson could do was wrestle Toney and then block a quick free-kick to pick up a booking.
Town were still pressing and when an attack was cleared the ball dropped to Dom Smith 30 yards from goal, he took a touch and then tried his luck from long range but it was just wide of the target.
Southend were looking to add to their goal and a ball into the Town box was headed back towards the far post for Fortune, Dom Smith had tracked him and did enough to make a nuisance of himself and see Fortune put his header wide of the target.
The ball came to Toney on the halfway line and he was caught by Cox, then followed pushing, barging and Toney cleared behind pushed to the ground by Cox, Toney was upset and got involved and when it had all calmed down it was a booking for each player.
Town had a good opening late on when a good break saw Toney come inside and play it to Dodds, he then played it back into the run of Toney as he came infield and he had a shot but it was side of the target.
With seconds remaining Southend broke and El-Abd had to concede the corner, it was delivered into the danger area but the Town defence was solid and the danger was dealt with.