Gary Waddock started his spell as Southend’s caretaker manager by earning the club’s first point of the League One season thanks to an entertaining 3-3 draw against high-flying Fleetwood.
The Shrimpers, who parted company with Kevin Bond last week and had lost their first six league games, came from behind twice to draw level thanks to Stephen Humphrys’ brace.
Southend had opened the scoring in the 17th minute when Stephen McLaughlin curled home a free-kick.
But Fleetwood equalised in the 34th minute, with Jimmy Dunne heading home, and then took the lead on the stroke of half-time as Josh Morris scored after Danny Andrew’s shot had been parried out by Southend goalkeeper Mark Oxley.
The hosts drew level three minutes into the second half with Humphrys netting a long-range free-kick.
But Fleetwood hit back just four minutes later when Dempsey headed home a right-wing cross from Lewie Coyle.
The visitors were unable to bag a fourth – a two-goal win would have sent them top of the table – and Southend took full advantage with Humphrys scoring his second of the game, firing home a powerful finish just three minutes from time.