Southend sacked manager Phil Brown following protests on the pitch by fans during the comprehensive 4-0 home defeat by Chesterfield in the Vanarama National League as Danny Rowe scored a hat-trick for the visitors.
Home fans protested during the game and Brown paid the price with his job for a defeat which saw United drop into the bottom three.
Rowe opened the scoring for the visitors midway through the first half as he fired the ball into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.
The 32-year-old former Oldham and Bradford striker doubled Chesterfield’s lead five minutes before the break as he struck the Spireites’ second from a tight angle.
Summer signing Saidou Khan extended the away side’s lead four minutes into the second half as he slotted Jeff King’s cross home at the far post for his second goal in three games.
Rowe completed the scoring and his treble with a penalty 17 minutes from time as he fired the ball straight down the middle of Steve Arnold’s goal.
Chesterfield moved up to fourth as a result, while the hosts sit 20th.