A second home league defeat of the season left Albion stunned as Southend United came from behind to grab a 2-1 victory at the Pirelli Stadium.
An excellent first half performance yielded just the one goal as Liam Boyce grabbed his seventh of the season with Albion hitting the woodwork twice but Southend hit back in the second half to win it through Tom Hopper and Simon Cox.
Albion were unable to find the same level of intensity after the break and failed to seriously test the Shrimpers keeper whilst the visitors grew in confidence after the break sensing that Albion's one goal lead mught be vulnerable.
Nigel Clough made two changes to the side held to a goalless draw by Scunthorpe at the weekend. Ben Turner dropped to the bench nursing a slightly tight hamstring, his place going to John Brayford who slotted in alongside Kyle McFadzean. The other change, as against Burnley a week previously, saw Jake Hesketh rewarded with a start in the league with Marvin Sordell swapping places on the bench with the Southampton loanee.
Albion sqaundered the first real chance to test ex-Albion loanee Mark Oxley in the Southend goal on seven minutes. A storming run infield from Damien McCrory was brought to a halt just outside the box but David Templeton could not get his free kick up and over the wall to sufficiently test the Shrimpers stopper.
Another good chance went begging just three minutes later, McFadzean's header down from a Hesketh corner volleyed over the bar by Boyce from no more than six yards.
Southend responded after a sluggish start and almost grabbed the lead themselves on twelve minutes. Jason Demetriou got forward on the right and his cross was headed goalwards by Simon Cox. With Evtimov at full stretch there was relief for Albion when his header came back off the post.
It was Albion's turn to rattle the woodwork on the quarter of an hour mark as Templeton was fed through on the left and Oxley did well to turn his low drilled effort against the base of the post. The Brewers continued to apply the pressure and Boyce was inches away from another Brewers goal, getting a toe end to Templeton's deflected cross and forcing Oxley to fingertip the ball wide. The Southend reprieve was short lived however as although the resulting corner was over hit beyond the back post, Fraser swept in a low cross from the left that Boyce stooped to steer home with a well guided header.
Southend were quick to try and respond, Tom Hopper flicking a header wide of the far upright just three minutes after the Shrimpers had gone behind.
McCrory's tackle on Hopper had visiting players shouting for a penalty with referee Seb Stockbridge only awarding a free kick right on the edge, Demetriou, like Templeton earlier, failing to trouble the keeper with his curling effort.
Some of Albion's passing and movement was a joy to watch and with Templeton and Hesketh switching flanks it was the Scot who released JAmie Allen on the right for a first time cross that Oxley got to just before Boyce, sniffing out a second.
Hesketh, cutting in from the left forced Oxley into another excellent save with the crossbar this time coming to the Southend keeper's rescue after his fingertips had diverted the curling effort as it headed for the top corner.
Half time: Burton Albion 1-0 Southend United
The visitors made a change at the break and it was a chance for Michael Kightly to show what he was capable of against former employers as he took the place of Theo Robinson .
Within a minute of the restart Dru Yearwood found himself in referee Stockbridge's book. A couple of fouls in the first half did not go unnoticed by the official and another quickly after the break persuaded him to punish the Southend man for persistent fouling.
Southend started to look brighter after the break with Cox and Hopper both looking lively although neither could muster a chance to seriously threaten Evtimov.
Just when Albion looked to have weathered the Southend storm the visitors snatched an equaliser. Demetriou was given space out on the right to sling in a teasing cross and Hopper met it with a firm header that squeezed through the legs of Evtimov from close range on the hour.
Hesketh sent another curling effort tantalisingly wide almost immediately as the Brewers looked to regain the initiative.
McFadzean, forward for a free kick sent a looping header just wide of the post on 74 minutes as Albion pushed forwards again, the defender looking to add to his goal against Sunderland.
Albion's football was getting a little scrappy now and Southend took advantage to grab the lead on 78 minutes when Ben Coker swung over a wicked delivery that Cox was able to bundle over the line from close range.
Devante Cole was quickly sent on to add to the attacking options with Fraser sacrificed from the midfield trio. Joe Sbarra was also added to the attacking options but Southend's defence held out against everything that Albion could throw at them late on.
Missed first half chances had come back to haunt the Brewers in a game they looked comfortable in the first half but allowed to drift after the break.