Southend United went home with all three points from Gigg Lane after a day to forget for the Shakers.
The Shrimpers will have been happy with their perfect start to the game. Nile Ranger and Simon Cox’s goals in the first 12 minutes left David Flitcroft’s side with a mountain to climb.
James Vaughan responded with a crucial penalty goal, sending the Shakers in just one goal down at the break. However, Southend battled on to extend their lead with two second half goals.
Jacob Mellis’ early free kick into the box was headed narrowly wide of the visitors’ post by Antony Kay, with just five minutes played, but four minutes later, the Shakers conceded a soft goal from inside the penalty area. Ranger was granted time and space to pick out the bottom right corner of Ben Williams’ goal, despite pressure from Leon Barnett.
Hallam Hope attacked immediately at the other end but he was quashed in front goal under the pressure from Mark Oxley after a Vaughan cross.
On 12 minutes, Cox doubled the lead for Southend as his direct run down the right opened up space, and his shot was fired across goal and the ball nestled into the bottom left corner of the net.
The Shakers pulled one goal back seven minutes later, Hallam Hope went down under the challenge of Ben Coker, which was deemed enough for the referee to award a penalty. James Vaughan stepped up to the spot, and, without any hesitation, he smashed the ball into the bottom left corner of the goal.
Mellis came close to an equaliser after some heavy pressure from the home side, but his shot flew wide of the mark, before Hallam Hope dragged a shot wide from the edge of the box on 39 minutes.
After a slow start to the second half, Neil Danns’ run from full back into the final third paved the way for his shot which found a deflection, and forced Oxley to tip the ball over the crossbar.
The away side extended their lead, however, on 61 minutes when Barnett misjudged his clearance following a direct ball forward from the Southend defence. Cox pounced onto the loose ball and pulled it back to Ranger, who tapped in his second goal from six yards out.
There was no comeback on the cards for the Shakers this time around, as McLaughlin was afforded time from 25 yards-out to find the top right corner of the goal in spectacular fashion.
In the final few minutes of the game, Danns was presented with an excellent chance in front of goal after some patient play from the Shakers outside the penalty area, but his effort cleared the crossbar.
Next up for the Shakers is a trip to AFC Wimbledon this Tuesday, as they look to book their place in the second round of the FA Cup.
Attendance: 3,033 (253 away fans)
Williams, Leigh, Kay, Barnett, Danns, Mayor, Mellis (Miller 68), Tutte (Walker 45), Soares, Hope, VaughanBury starting line-up:
Rachubka, Bedeau, Maher, Burgess, DudleyUnused subs:
Oxley, Coker, Thompson, Ferdinand (Sokolik 80), White (O’Neill 36), McLaughlin, Timlin, Leonard, Atkinson, Ranger (Fortune 81), CoxSouthend United starting line-up:
King, McGlashan, Bridge, SmithUnused subs: