Report: Mansfield 2-1 Southend
Ten-man Southend United endured a disappointing afternoon at the One Call Stadium as they lost 2-1 to Mansfield Town.
Sam Clucas opened the scoring with a low shot under the reach of Daniel Bentley, before James Jennings double the hosts’ lead with a tap in.
Substitute Conor Clifford was shown a straight red card in the 80th minute.
Ryan Leonard scored a late consolation but Blues were unable to find an equaliser.
The defeat was Blues’ first in the league since Torquay United in mid-December.
Phil Brown named an unchanged Southend United side for the trip with Luke Prosser unavailable again.
Bentley was the busier of the two goalkeepers early on, and had to make a fine save in the 19th minute to keep out Sam Clucas’ volley.
The striker had found space in the box to connect with a cross, but Bentley dived to his left to tip it away.
Barry Corr, who had recovered from double vision suffered in the game against Newport, then felt he should’ve had a penalty.
The striker latched onto a ball over the top and got ahead of his man before going down in the box. The referee was unmoved however.
Having been denied by Bentley previously, Clucas made no mistake with his second chance to give Mansfield the lead.
The striker brilliantly controlled a ball over the top before driving at goal and slotting low under Bentley from 12-yards.
Mansfield went close to doubling their lead before the break, but Ryan Tafazolli headed over the bar from a corner when unmarked.
Blues began the second-half brightly, and had a great opportunity to draw level ten minutes in.
Ben Coker played a free-kick low across the box for Corr to dummy and leave for Lee Barnard, but the striker couldn’t connect well enough to get the shot on target.
Despite that pressure, and a double substitution that saw Freddy Eastwood and Clifford introduced, it was Mansfield who were celebrating again.
A corner was met by Matt Rhead who headed towards goal. Bentley could only parry his effort and Jennings was on hand to tap home.
Clifford then saw red for a strong challenge on Rhead as Blues grew frustrated.
Corr hit the post late on before Leonard struck a sweet low strike into the bottom corner.
It was all too late for Blues, who suffered their first defeat of 2014.
They will be looking to bounce back a week today when Exeter City visit Roots Hall.
Blues: Bentley; White (Eastwood), Phillips, Thompson, Coker; Atkinson, Leonard, Hurst (Laird), Timlin (Clifford); Corr, Barnard.
Subs: P. Smith, Payne, Gomis, Straker.