Southend United 0 Carlisle United 2: Offrande Zanzala and Gime Toure were on target while Paul Farman saved a penalty as Carlisle United made it back-to-back wins at Southend.

The Cumbrians moved to within three points of the play-off places as they got the better of the second-bottom Shrimpers.

Zanzala opened the scoring with an impressive 17th-minute effort.

Farman then kept out Simeon Akinola's tame penalty later in the first half.

And sub Toure finally wrapped things up for Chris Beech's side with a fine finish 10 minutes from time.

It saw the Cumbrians claim successive wins for the first time since January - and their first victory on the road since January 2 - as they moved up to 10th in the table.

It marks a much-needed improvement in their fortunes and keeps their top-seven hopes alive with nine games to go.

Blues boss Beech named an unchanged side, with Lewis Alessandra, Jack Armer and Joe Riley keeping their places after their midweek recalls.

George Tanner tested the hosts with an early cross while from the other side, Armer almost set up Zanzala.

From a scrappy opening, though, the deadlock was broken when Zanzala was quick onto Aaron Hayden's header from the back, the striker getting away from his man, running at the defence and then drilling a good finish low past Mark Oxley and into the bottom left corner.

News and Star: Zanzala celebrates his 17th-minute openerZanzala celebrates his 17th-minute opener

United went in search of more, Riley having a shot blocked, before the hosts' Alan McCormack limped off on 35 minutes, Kyle Taylor replacing him.

Southend got into one or two good areas but looked short of ideas or attacking confidence in the final third, while Carlisle's own efforts brought few attempts on goal.

The hosts could not even take the opportunity they gained in the 37th minute when Callum Guy was controversially penalised for a challenge on Akinola to the left of the box.

The striker took the penalty himself but, after a slow, halting run-up, sent a t low effort to the right which Farman dived to keep out.

News and Star: Paul Farman keeps out Simeon Akinola's penaltyPaul Farman keeps out Simeon Akinola's penalty

Tyler Cordner failed to keep a header on target late in the first half as Mark Molesley's side toiled to find a way back into things.

After the break, Jon Mellish tested Oxley with a shot from the left as United tried to step things up.

Zanzala was then denied on the break before Southend's Akinola had a goal ruled out for offside.

In a scrappy second half of few real chances, Southend boss Molesley made a triple change with 15 minutes to go while United replacement Toure, on the Patrick, couldn't steer a header past Oxley after Mellish's cross.

But things were very different when the French attacker got another chance, and as United won the ball back after an initial Alessandra chance was denied, the forward fed Toure and he found the bottom corner with an excellent finish.

News and Star: Gime Toure fires home United's second goalGime Toure fires home United's second goal

That ended any realistic Southend hopes, with Alessandra and Toure almost adding more and United surviving a late Brandon Goodship shot as they saw through another important victory.

Southend: Oxley, Demetriou (Bwomono 73), Hobson, Cordner, Clifford, McCormack (Taylor 34), Hackett-Fairchild, Nathaniel-George, Ferguson (Mellis 73), Acquah (Holmes 59), Akinola (Goodship 73). Not used: Seaden, Halford.

Booked: Taylor

United: Farman, Tanner, Armer, McDonald, Hayden, Guy, Riley, Mellish (Anderton 87), Patrick (Toure 73), Alessandra, Zanzala. Not used: Norman, Charters, Furman, Scott, Walker.

Goals: Zanzala 17, Toure 80

Booked: McDonald.

Ref: Alan Young.