Southend United succumbed to a second consecutive defeat as they went down 2-0 at Bradford City.
Set-pieces continued to be the Achilles heel of the Blues as a sublime free-kick from Tony McMahon and a James Hanson header from a corner saw the home side home and dry.
Going in to the game Phil Brown made six changes from the weekend defeat to Scunthorpe United.
Ben Coker, Anthony Wordsworth, Michael Timlin, Gary Deegan, Stephen McLaughlin and Noel Hunt replaced Adam Thompson, Stephen Hendrie, Sam McQueen, Glen Kamara, Jack Payne and Tyrone Barnett.
This would be Coker, McLaughlin and Wordsworth’s first starts for the Blues after long-term injury layoffs.
Blues started the game well, keeping the ball well with some neat possession work down the left-hand side from Coker and McLaughlin.
The first real chance of the game arrived on 15 minutes as a Noel Hunt half-volley from outside the box was expertly tipped over by Williams.
Southend were made to pay for that chance as McMahon gave the hosts the lead with a curling free-kick from 25-yards.
Wes Thomas went so close to making it two on 25’, as his shot is went just over following a quick counter as Wordsworth was dispossessed.
Bradford started to apply the pressure as the Blues struggled to get a hold of the game.
Phil Brown’s men wanted to get the ball down and play but the playing surface wouldn’t allow them to do so.
Half-Time Bradford City 1-0 Southend United
Southend began the second half with intent as McLaughlin charged at the Bradford back-line on 50’, but his shot went just over from inside the area.
At the other end, a Lee Evans free-kick from the left nearly creeped in to the bottom right-hand corner, but Bentley got across well to palm the ball away.
As the game hit the hour mark, the Blues continued to press but could not find that killer ball.
Sub Jamar Loza was straight in to the action chasing down a long ball, and nearly picked the pocket of the defender on 68’, but the keeper gathered.
With twenty minutes to go, the home side reasserted their dominance, and Blues were having to deal with some pressure as Bradford whipped in a couple of dangerous balls.
Bentley got down well to deny a McMahon volley, and was called upon again from the resulting corner.
On 74 minutes, there was daylight between the sides as Bradford went two-up. It was another set-piece as James Hanson met McMahon's corner to head his side two-clear.
As the clock ticked on, Blues players continued to get frustrated as nothing appeared to be sticking for them.
Southend continued to barrage the box with crosses, but the first and second balls just didn’t fall for them tonight.
Southend | Bentley, O'Neill, Bolger, Barrett (c) Coker, Wordsworth, Timlin, Atkinson, Deegan, McLaughlin, Hunt.
SUBS | Thompson, Worrall, Mooney, Payne, Smith, McQueen, Loza.
Bradford | Williams, Darby, Meredith, Evans, Clarke, Hanson, Cullen, Burke, Reid, McMahon, Thomas.
SUBS | Cracknell, Marshall, Clarke, Knott, Leigh,, Routis, Davies