Emmett Johnson fired home a hat trick as Southend progressed to next round of the Munster Junior Cup with victory over St. Paul's at Southend Park yesterday morning.
St. Pauls took the lead on eight minutes when a brilliant ball down the left channel from Walter Kennedy sent Graeme Robinson into the clear and he hammered a right-footed shot past Southend keeper David Richardson.
Two minutes later, Southend were level when Mark Phelan crossed and Emmett Johnson home from six yards.
Southend went in front on ten minutes when a long ball from Corey Kavanagh fell nicely to Emmett Johnson and he slipped the ball past keeper Dale Sheridan.
Walter Croke could have added a third goal for his side on 17 minutes when he latched onto a through ball from Dean Reidy from the right but his angled effort was saved by the legs of Dale Sheridan before Graeme Robinson hit the underside of the bar on 34 minutes after taking a pass from Graham Murphy.
On 35 minutes Southend did make it 3-1. Mickey Merrigan sent in a left-wing cross that found the head of Glenn Hawe and he beat Dale Sheridan with a header.
Dan Murphy went close to bringing his side back into the contest on 63 minutes when he rose highest to meet a Patrick Foran right-wing free kick but his header crashed back off the post.
Southend put the game to bed as a contest ten minutes later when Aaron Galibert whipped in a corner kick from the right to the near post where Daniel O'Sullivan was on hand to head the ball to the far corner of the net.
The Saints never gave up and they grabbed a goal back on 75 minutes.
Darragh Swaby latched onto the ball inside the penalty area after a free kick from Patrick Foran fell at his feet before he hammered the ball past a helpless David Richardson. But the hopes were short lived as Dale Sheridan could only punch the ball into his own net when trying to clear a Dean Kennedy corner three minutes later.
Emmett Johnson grabbed his third goal of the game with three minutes remaining before Stephen McLawrence was denied a late goal for St. Paul's by a fantastic David Richardson save in second half injury time.
SOUTHEND UNITED: David Richardson, Corey Kavanagh (James Coad `64), Michael Merrigan, Daniel O'Sullivan, Mark Phelan, Johnny Gleeson, Dean Kennedy, Walter Croke (Aaron Galibert `64), Emmett Johnson, Glenn Hawe, Dean Reidy
ST PAULS: Dale Sheridan, David McGrath, Patrick Foran, John Starmer Dan Murphy, Stephen McLawrence, Walter Kennedy (Matthew Merdith `46), Tommy Kirby, Graham Murphy (Anthony Walsh `69), Graeme Robinson (Darragh Swaby `58), Liam Kelly
Referee: John Ferncombe