VIVA Las Vegas! Put Southend on the growing list of League One hosts left all shook up by City’s high rollers.

Away win number eight – only Manchester City’s marvels have managed more – was clinched with a belly flop straight from America’s gambling capital.

Charlie Wyke, succeeding Tony McMahon on penalty duties, followed his thumping spot-kick by leaping in the air – and then dropping to the floor in front of the jubilant away end.

It was a pre-planned move from the in-form striker, who afterwards revealed it came from a video from a Vegas holiday with his mates.

The photographic evidence of that remains a guarded secret – but he was happy to imitate the mystery dive to the delight of the City fans.

Southend were floored by their first home defeat in eight months. But then, City are getting used to winning big.

Phil Brown had upped the stakes before the game by talking of the tactical battle between the two managers.

On the back of ripping into his side last week, the home boss gambled by dropping his captain Anton Ferdinand and centre forward Simon Cox.

While he chose to twist, Stuart McCall’s gamble was to stick with the winning hand from the previous week’s thriller with Rochdale.

There was no playing it safe just because City were on the road. The Bantams chief once again went all in – and emerged with another jackpot.

Brown had left the table by then, sent to the stands for his protests in the wake of Wyke’s decisive spot-kick, leaving McCall to collect the winnings once more.

Even given Southend’s impressive home stats, you could argue that City are becoming a safe bet on their travels.

Top two Wigan and Shrewsbury will vouch for their remarkable form away from Valley Parade.

Brown conceded that there was no luck about this latest victory, despite the timing of the decisive goal.

He saw that City “carried the belief” of winning so often away – even if McCall’s confidence did waver momentarily after the Southend equaliser.

At that stage, he would have banked a point. But then the Bantams had one final card to play.

Wyke admitted the nerves were fluttering when he was put on the spot. You would never have sensed it as the ball hurtled down the middle past home keeper Mark Oxley.

City have won nine away games in each of the past three seasons. Now they can equal that by the halfway stage if they beat Wimbledon on Saturday.

That is some achievement and shows why their current lofty position remains fully deserved.

Wyke’s stock continues to rise with another goal making it 11 so far.

And he once more demonstrated the strength of his all-round game with the way he played in others.

His well-measured flick to maintain Nicky Law’s early burst through the Southend ranks contributed to Dominic Poleon’s opener.

Then there was the well-measured pass to send the midfielder scampering into the box to draw the rash challenge from Ryan Leonard and win the spot-kick.

It is not scaremongering to suggest Wyke’s name will inevitably crop up in a few conversations during next month’s transfer window.

Of course, clubs will be keeping an eye on any striker in the goals – especially one who has taken the step up a division from this time last year in his stride.

The test will come should any rival dare to test City’s resolve with a bid. What is his mid-season market value? Absolutely stupid money given the crucial role he is playing in maintaining the lofty status in League One.

Performances like Saturday will only increase the exposure of a player who, let’s not forget, virtually wrote off the first month of the season because of his summer injury.

But Wyke is not the sole reason why City continue to cement that play-off spot that they have virtually made their own since McCall came back 18 months ago.

Matt Kilgallon’s contribution at Roots Hall was just as critical in the final picture.

The centre half continues to set the highest bar at the back, showing immaculate timing with two penalty-box pocket picks to deny Anthony Wordsworth and Nile Ranger in promising scoring positions.

That type of diligent defending ensured that Rouven Sattelmaier was fairly well protected even when Southend stepped up a gear after the break.

The home side’s ears were still ringing from the lambasting they received from Brown after a poor effort at Bristol Rovers the previous week.

But the expected response took a while coming as City had emerged far quicker from the traps.

In an early flurry, Poleon wasted the best chance when he scorned an unmarked Wyke in a better position to go it alone and force a save.

But there was no mistake after nine minutes, Law combining with Wyke and then drilling in a low cross that left Poleon with a straight-forward finish.

Southend’s response flickered as Wordsworth put a free header straight at Sattelmaier and some fans prematurely cheering as Stephen McLaughlin’s effort deflected behind the net.

City spent the bulk of the second half on the back foot as the home side upped their intensity without peppering Sattelmaier’s goal.

The equaliser came with 15 minutes left, Ranger getting the post-match confirmation as scorer after he had jumped together with McLaughlin to head home Jermaine McGlashan’s cross.

That was the point when McCall would have settled for the draw.

But it was City, not Southend, who grabbed the initiative in the closing stages.

Wyke’s header was cleared off the line while Shay McCartan’s cameo from the bench was, without doubt, his best in a City shirt.

He had one go with his left foot, beating the far post, and another with his right that Oxley did a tremendous job to scoop away.

But the killer moment, in the first of the added minutes, came from the Wyke and Law combo.

Leonard’s lunge gave referee Keith Stroud no choice; Wyke’s first penalty in nearly a year gave Oxley no chance.

This road trip continues to be great fun.