Paddy Madden and Kevin Van Veen on target as Scunthorpe hammer Southend
Two goals in five minutes late in the first half from strikers Paddy Madden and Kevin van Veen put second-placed Scunthorpe on course for a convincing 4-0 victory over Southend.
The first, in the 36th minute, was a personal triumph for last season’s leading marksman Madden who made an instant impact on his first league appearance of this campaign following a calf injury.
As Duane Holmes delivered a low cross into the box from the right, Madden popped up to fire a first-time right-footed shot past goalkeeper Ted Smith.
Scunthorpe quickly struck again in the 41st minute when, from a short corner on the right, Josh Morris guided a cross to the near post where Van Veen steered a shot into the far corner past Smith for his sixth goal of the season.
Southend boss Phil Brown reacted at half-time with a triple substitution, dragging off defenders Harry Kyprianou and Jakub Sokolik and midfielder Adam King and replacing them with Ben Coker, Stephen McLaughlin and Jermaine McGlashan.
Briefly, it gave the visitors more impetus but it was Scunthorpe who retained their attacking quality.
They made it 3-0 in the 57th minute when winger Morris, the Sky Bet League One player of the month for August, lashed a delightful 20-yard left-footed shot beyond the reach of Smith for his seventh goal of the season.
Madden had the ball in the net again only to be ruled offside and winger Holmes might twice have done better with chances from close range as Southend struggled to stem the flow of a confident Scunthorpe side.
Substitute Richie Smallwood, a deadline-day signing on loan from Rotherham, then sealed the victory with a cracking right-footed volley from inside the box on his debut.