United come from behind to secure victory
Pompey’s long wait for a win continued as Southend continued their promotion charge with victory on the south coast.
It looked like it might be a more enjoyable afternoon when Adam Webster headed the hosts ahead midway through the first half.
But Ryan Leonard soon levelled before Joe Pigott’s deflected strike saw them take the lead after the interval.
The Blues threw everyone forward in the closing stages, but the visitors held firm to secure all three points, with both sides having a player dismissed late on.
Andy Awford stuck with the same side that drew at home to Burton the previous week.
It was Andy Barcham who was first to threaten after cutting inside from the left, but the winger could only hit a tame effort straight at Shrimpers keeper Daniel Bentley.
The visitors sent in a couple of dangerous cross at the other end, although they came to nothing in an underwhelming opening to the game.
But the Blues started to apply some pressure as the half progressed and almost took the lead through a flowing move on 21 minutes.
Barcham spun his man and then beat another before teeing-up James Dunne, who picked out Jed Wallace in the box.
The midfielder made a clean connection, but Bentley somehow managed to keep the ball out from point-blank range.
Pompey fans did not have long to wait for a goal, however, as the deadlock was broken on 24 minutes.
Craig Westcarr swung in a superb free-kick which was met by WEBSTER at the far post, although the ball appeared to catch a defender on its way into the net.
The hosts had been well on top, but then proceeded to switch off at the back to allow Southend to grab an equaliser.
David Worrall got past Nicky Shorey down the right and sent in a cross that an unmarked Leonard was able to convert.
That gave the United a big lift and they almost forged ahead, only for Paul Jones to instinctively stick out a hand and push clear Pigott’s fierce strike.
Skipper John White’s cross was then headed back across the face of goal, but Jones and Nigel Atangana combined to stop Worrall forcing it over the line.
And Pompey broke immediately up the other end, with a stretching Tubbs not quite able to turn Wallace’s pass on target.
Half Time: Pompey 1 Southend 1
The Fratton faithful cried for a penalty soon after the restart when Barcham went down in the box under pressure from Michael Timlin.
Referee Lee Collins was unimpressed, however, signalling that the Southend midfielder had won the ball cleanly.
But both sides were struggling to create any decent openings, forcing Awford to make a double switch just past the hour mark.
Atangana and the impressive Westcarr were the men to make way, replaced by Danny Hollands and Paul McCallum.
Loan striker McCallum was immediately in action when he was brought down 25 yards out, but Shorey fired the resulting free-kick straight into the wall.
He then slid in at the far post, but was just unable to reach a low Wallace cross that also evaded Tubbs.
Instead it was the visitors who grabbed the lead on 71 minutes, although there was a huge slice of luck about the goal.
Substitute Barry Corr did well in the build up to find some space and pick out Pigott, but the striker’s shot took a huge deflection off Paul Robinson to deceive Jones.
Barcham immediately made way for Ryan Taylor as Awford decided to throw on another striker.
But it was Wallace who tried his luck on 78 minutes with a fierce drive that was bravely blocked by Leonard.
And Bentley then showed quick reactions to keep out Robinson’s close range header from a Wallace cross.
Pompey were pouring forward in search of a leveller and Bentley made another super stop to push clear Hollands’ low drive on 80 minutes.
The keeper was single-handedly preserving Southend’s lead and tipped over a Wallace effort to frustrate the Blues.
United then had Corr sent off when – having earlier been booked for kicking the ball away – the striker lunged at Hollands and was shown a red card by Collins.
But the visitors held on through four minutes of stoppage-time to claim victory and Pompey's misery increased when McCallum was also dismissed at the death.
Pompey (4-4-2): Jones; Webster, Robinson (c), Devera, Shorey; Wallace, Dunne, Atangana (Hollands 61), Barcham (Taylor 74); Westcarr (McCallum 61), Tubbs
Goals: Webster 24
Sent off: McCallum
Sent off: McCallum
Subs not used: Poke, Chorley, Butler, Ertl
Southend (4-4-2): Bentley; White (c), Thompson, Binnom-Williams, Coker; Worrall, Leonard, Timlin, Atkinson (Payne 86); Cassidy (Corr 69), Pigott (Weston 82)
Goals: Leonard 29, Pigott 71
Sent off: Corr (two yellow cards)
Booked: Timlin, White
Subs not used: Smith, Prosser, Hurst, Coulthirst
Referee: Lee Collins
Attendance: 15,573 (1,263 away fans)