Published: 16:40, 02 April 2018
| Updated: 20:10, 02 April 2018
A woeful Gillingham performance left them well beaten by Southend on Easter Monday.
The Gills had a first half shocker that left them four goals behind and down to 10 men.
Goals from Michael Turner, Theo Robinson and Michael Kightly put Southend 3-0 up after 18 minutes. It got worse before the break as Stephen McLaughlin added a fourth and captain Lee Martin was sent off.
Gillingham struggled to threaten the Southend goal but Tom Eaves did have two efforts ruled out for offside.
Gillingham made two changes to their starting XI with Martin, who missed the previous match through illness, replaced Navid Nasseri, despite him scoring last time out on his full debut. Tom Eaves took the place of Conor Wilkinson upfront.
Manager Steve Lovell’s pore-match plans were soon in tatters.
The Gills hadn’t lost to Southend in any of their previous nine meetings and were hoping to put back to back defeats behind them.
The hosts had other ideas and took an eighth minutes lead as Michael Turner guided a header through a crowded area from a corner. That had been conceded after keeper Tomas Holy sliced a clearance.
It was 2-0 after 11 minutes as Holy’s save from Coker fell to Robinson and he finished well.
Southend continued to pile forward and Kightly had a simple header to make it 3-0, reacting quickest after McLaughlin’s thumping drive came off the crossbar.
Gillingham switched formation with 25 minutes gone, replacing left-back Connor Ogilvie with Wilkinson, but home keeper Mark Oxley remained untroubled.
Gillingham almost conceded an own goal, needing a fingertip save from Holy to turn Max Ehmer’s header over his own bar. Simon Cox went close on a couple of occasions as Southend looked to add more goals to their tally.
Another came on 40 minutes when Kightly’s corner was met by McLaughlin, without a challenge in sight, leaving the Gills four down.
Eaves had the ball in the net for the Gills but his effort was ruled out for offside.
Gillingham’s half got even worse when Martin received a straight red card for a high challenge on Robinson in stoppage-time,
The Gills switched to wing-backs in the second half but Southend put the pressure on straight away, McLaughlin testing Holy early on with a low drive that was tipped wide.
Cox was also denied by the Gills keeper and Dru Yearwood stung the goalie’s hands from distance.
It was virtually one-way traffic but a free-kick presented the Gills with a chance. Bradley Garmston’s free-kick was met by Eaves and he found the net but once again the linesman’s flag ruled it out.
Southend continued to boss the game and there was almost embarrassment for Holy, when his poor free-kick midway inside his own half fell to Cox, but the Southend man couldn’t find the empty net from distance.
Southend: Oxley, Coker, Turner, Kightly, Timlin, Cox, McLaughlin (Harrison 69mins), Yearwood (Wright 83mins), Demetriou, Robinson (Ladapo 77mins), White. Subs: Bishop, Wordsworth, Ferdinand, Mantom.
Gillingham: Holy, O’Neill (Nugent 50mins), Ogilvie (Wilkinson 25mins), Ehmer, Zakuani, Byrne, Hessenthaler (Nasseri 46mins), Garmston, Wagstaff, Martin, Eaves. Subs not used: List, Hadler, Murphy, Moussa.
Attendance: 8,466 (1,307 away)