Southend United's unbeaten run of 14 games came to an end following a 2-0 defeat against Burton Albion at the Pirelli Stadium.
Calvin Zola put the home side ahead in the 14th minute following a bright start from Burton before Lee Bell doubled the home side's advantage with a deflected strike from long range.
The home side were reduced to ten-men with fifteen minutes to go as Nathan Stanton was given his marching orders, but Blues couldn't find any way back into the game and their unbeaten run came to a disappointing end.
Paul Sturrock was forced into a change from the 3-0 win against Dagenham & Redbridge, with Britt Assombalonga replaced by Barry Corr in attack alongside Gavin Tomlin.
The hosts were unchanged from their 3-2 Boxing Day win against Rochdale.
The first chance of the game fell the way of the home side. Jack Dyer chipped the ball over the top for the run of Robbie Weir, but the midfielder failed to get enough of a connection on the ball and Paul Smith saved easily.
The home side were having the better of the early exchanges, and just after the 15 minute mark they were ahead. Lee Bell's excellent cross from the right was prodded home by Zola, who had just peeled off the back of Ryan Cresswell.
Blues got themselves on the front foot after that, but were struggling to create any clear cut chances despite good possession. In form striker Gavin Tomlin had Blues' best chance following a clever free kick from Michael Timlin, but Tomlin's effort on the turn was pushed behind by Dean Lyness.
Burton had rarely threatened since that goal, but went 2-0 up in the 36th minute with an excellent counter attacked. Jacque Maghoma's cut-back from the left was dummied by Zola and Billy Kee for Bell whose shot took a wicked deflection past Smith and into the back of the net.
Blues needed a response and almost got it from Kevan Hurst's clever corner. The midfielder tried to catch Lyness out with an excellent near post cross, but the Brewers' keeper managed to beat it away.
Hurst then saw his volley from the edge of the box go just over after heavy pressure as Blues upped the tempo.
Blues were again on the front foot at the start of the second half, but their final pass was just letting them down.
Their first real chance came from a free-kick after Tomlin had been felled by Stanton 19-yards out. Timlin stepped up to take but his effort was saved by Lyness after a deflection.
Just before the 70 minute mark, Sturrock made a double substitution as Mark Phillips and David Martin replaced Tamika Mkandawire and Corr. The changes saw Cresswell join Tomlin in attack.
With Blues still struggling for a way back into the game, Burton's Stanton gave them a helping hand as he was sent off for a second bookable offence.
The man advantage, and with Freddy Eastwood now up front as well, Blues should have got one back. Cresswell teed up Martin but the winger tamely shot wide with his weaker foot.
Blues pressed, but it just wasn't their day, as Clohessy's cross somehow evaded everyone in the penalty area.
Defeat ended Blues' unbeaten run of 14 games, but they can bounce back on New Years Day against Gillingham at Roots Hall.
Blues: Smith; Clohessy, Cresswell, Prosser, Barker; Hurst, Mkandawire (Martin, 68), Laird (Eastwood, 75), Timlin; Corr (Phillips, 68), Tomlin. Subs not used: Donnelly, Bentley, Straker.