Second-half goals from Ifil and Wordsworth put the U’s in control but Saturday’s League One clash really sprang into life when Southend pulled one back through 17-goal top scorer Lee Barnard.
Chances were at a premium in the first half but Ifil broke the deadlock 50 seconds after the break when he stole in from the right wing and met Steven Gillespie’s cross from the left to head home from deep inside the area.
Shrimpers keeper Ian Joyce, making his first start of the season in place of the injured Steve Mildenhall, was beaten again in the 57th minute after Wordsworth was brought down by Jean-Francois Christophe on the edge of the area.
The midfielder dusted himself down and curled a fine left-footed free-kick over the six-man Southend wall and beyond Joyce’s dive.
Barnard reduced the arrears in the 77th minute when he headed home at the far post from Francis Laurent’s sweet cross from the right.