Quite simply this was the game that produced just about everything possible from a game of football.
Breathtaking goals, superb saves and an incredible conclusion to a match that was played in front of a large crowd in Mitchel Kennedy Park on a glorious Sunday morning.
The result means that the champions Hibernians are still looking for their first win of the new campaign.
They looked bright and sharp from the opening whistle but Southend took the lead in stunning fashion after seven minutes.
Aaron O’Neill and Mark Phelan combined to get the ball to Shane Nolan and he somehow managed to lob the ball over the Hibs goalkeeper Sean Whitty from just inside the halfway line with his right foot.
The hosts reacted quickly to that set back and went close on two occasions through David McGrath before Mark O’Keeffe struck the equaliser on 18 minutes.
David McGrath raced down the left flank before crossing to O’Keeffe who beat Sean Walsh with a low strike from 16 yards.
The same player made it 2-1 to the champions one minute later. Gary Keane cushioned the ball into the path of O’Keeffe and this time he unleashed a screamer of a shot from 25 yards and the ball finished up in the roof of the Southend net.
Sean Walsh then produced a magnificent save from Ross Douglas on 22 minutes and the visiting goalkeeper produced the goods once again four minutes later this time from David McGrath.
The visitors got back on level terms on 41 minutes and again it was Shane Nolan who scored his second wonder goal of this blistering contest.
Sean Walsh kicked the ball down field and when it reached Nolan he struck another magnificent volley, this time with his left foot past Sean Whitty from 35 yards.
The play was moving from end to end at this stage with extraordinary pace but the fifth goal did not arrive until the 73rd minute. David McGrath found space out on the right and when his low cross was only partially cleared by the Southend defence, Matthew Billingham took full advantage and drilled a low strike from 20 yards flew past the unsighted goalkeeper Sean Walsh.
Substitute Paul Quilty appeared to have secured Hibernians first win of the season when he made it 4-2 on 82 minutes. Mark O’Keeffe picked him out from the right. Quilty’s first attempt was saved by Sean Walsh who parried the ball but Quilty made no mistake from close range with his second bite of the cherry.
A number of spectators left the ground at that stage thinking he game was over but Nathan Phelan finished off a pass from David Croke on 87 minutes to set up a nervous finish for Hibs. One minute into time added on Paul Gahan took down Shane Nolan inside the box and unbelievably Nolan dusted himself down and dispatched the penalty to complete his hat-trick and secure a point for the Tangerines.
Hibernians. Sean Whitty, Maurice Shanahan, Graig Keane, Gary Dunphy, Matthew Billingham, Ross Douglas, Gary Keane,Jason Keane, David McGrath, Philip Drohan, Mark O’Keeffe.
Subs. Paul Quilty for Gary Keane (61 mins) David Cooley for Shanahan (65 mins) Paul Gahan for Drohan (80 mins)
Southend United. Sean Walsh, Paul Carey, Aaron O’Neill, Leo Jacques, Daniel O’Sullivan, Mark Phelan, Joe Twomey, Jonathan Gleeson, Nathan Phelan, Shane Nolan, Aaron Galibert.
Subs. Chris Dempsey for Twomey (71 mins) David Croke for O’Sullivan (80 mins) Ian Caulfield for Gleeson (83 mins)
Referee. Gavin Keyes. Assistants. Andrew Mullally, Chris Maher.