Southend extended their unbeaten run to eight matches in the league after trouncing torrid Torquay 4-1 at Roots Hall.
The promotion pushing Shrimpers struggled to break down the visitors in the first half but they ran riot after the break, with midfielder Kane Ferdinand bagging a brace.
He opened the scoring just 20 seconds after the interval when he latched on to a deflected right-wing cross from Michael Timlin. And he then doubled his tally in the 54th minute by brilliantly volleying home a deep right-wing cross from Neil Harris.
Southend remained on top and, in the 66th minute, Paul Sturrock's men made it 3-0 as top-goalscorer Liam Dickinson latched on to Timlin's through ball and blasted a low 20-yard shot in to the bottom left-hand corner of the net.
Four minutes later, defender Mark Phillips headed a left-wing corner from Ryan Hall past Robert Olejnik .
But Torquay, who have now not won for eight games, hit back with a consolation strike 13 minutes from time when Mark Ellis found the target.