A clinical display of finishing from Ruben Rodrigues earned us a convincing win at Roots Hall.
After firing us into a first-half lead, the Portuguese added two more after the break to claim the match ball and send the 536 travelling Magpies home in jubilant spirits.
Ian Burchnall made only one change to the side that drew with Chesterfield the previous Saturday, with Vitezslav Jaros back between the sticks on his return from international duty.
Zak Brunt, who had spent the early part of the season on loan at Roots Hall, made the bench ahead of Ed Francis but Joel Taylor, Cal Roberts and Kairo Mitchell all missed out.
The game began with the sides exchanging tentative blows, Frank Vincent claiming the first shot when his deflected effort following good work from Rodrigues was comfortably held by Steve Arnold.
But there was nothing the keeper could do to prevent the Portuguese playmaker from opening the scoring on 19 minutes when Rodrigues met Arter’s cute free-kick with a well-struck, first-time volley which deflected up off the keeper’s outstretched leg and over the line.
The rest of the half passed without incident and, similarly to the beginning of the first period, both sides exchanged half-chances in the opening exchanges of the second before Rodrigues found the net once more, finishing low beyond Arnold after Kyle Wootton held the ball up brilliantly in the area.
Southend had a golden opportunity to get themselves back into the game when the ball got caught under Connell Rawlinson’s feet and Alex Lacey could only bring Callum Powell down in the area. Sam Dalby took responsibility for the spotkick but saw it saved by Jaros.
And, 14 minutes later, the points were deservedly wrapped up when Jayden Richardson’s burst into the area resulted in the ball bouncing for Rodrigues to loop it over Arnold for the hat-trick.
The victory leaves us in sixth place ahead of next weekend’s trip to Torquay.
STARTING XI: Jaros; Chicksen, Lacey, Rawlinson; Kelly-Evans, Richardson; Arter (Brunt 74'), Vincent (O'Brien 63'), Palmer; Rodrigues (Sam 85'), Wootton
UNUSED SUBS: Graham, Nemane
BOOKINGS: Lacey 65', Kelly-Evans 82', O'Brien 90'
ATTENDANCE: 6,338 (536)