Ryan Hall's strike gave Southend United all three points at Accrington Stanley, who remain winless this season.
Kevin McIntyre fouled Anthony Grant in the area, allowing Liam Dickinson to put the Blues ahead from the spot.
Andy Procter levelled for the hosts after visiting keeper Glenn Morris spilled a McIntyre free-kick.
Southend secured victory when Hall hooked the ball home after Neil Harris' cross was not cleared before McIntrye was sent off late on for dissent.
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Southend manager Paul Sturrock told BBC Essex:
"In one way I'm delighted, but in another way we nearly shot ourselves in the foot.
"If we'd been more clinical in the first half we could have been 3-1 or 4-1 up. The chances we missed were very, very easy ones as well.
"At least the boys battled and worked their tails off and give us everything they've got."