Blues' unbeaten run under Chris Powell came to an end after Southend lost 3-0 to Walsall at Roots Hall...
Take a look at what various sections of the media had to say following the defeat.
A SECOND half hat-trick from Erhun Oztumer handed Walsall a shock 3-0 win at Southend United.
The Shrimpers’ ground staff and their fans had fought hard to get the game on at Roots Hall, clearing snow off the pitch on the morning of the match.
But it was Saddlers who were more grateful for the game going ahead as Jon Whitney’s side secured their first away win since November.
The defeat was also Chris Powell’s first becoming Southend boss at the end of January.
However, it was the Shrimpers who threatened first with Simon Cox having a low shot smothered by Walsall goalkeeper Liam Roberts before Freddie Ladapo headed Shayon Harrison’s left wing cross over the crossbar from 12 yards.
Moments later, Cox’s header from Stephen McLaughlin’s right wing cross was held by Roberts before the Shrimpers striker curled a 20 yard shot straight at the Saddlers custodian.
After surviving the scares, the visitors soon hit back with Julien Ngoy having a shot blocked by Southend defender Michael Turner before Walsall came even closer to taking the lead when Kieron Morris cut in off the right flank and sent a long range effort inches wide of the left post.
With the visitors starting to get more into the game, Ngoy then curled a 20 yard shot wide of the right post before the speedy striker was denied by Southend goalkeeper Mark Oxley at the start of the second half.
But the Shrimpers soon replied and wasted a golden chance to score when former Walsall right-back Jason Demetriou delivered a deep cross to the far post where on-loan Tottenham Hotspur youngster Shayon Harrison volleyed over from close range.
The Saddlers hit back with Maz Kouhyar sending a low 20 yard shot just past the right post before the visitors broke the deadlock in the 57th minute with Oztumer on target.
The attacking midfielder cut in from the right hand side and unleashed a low effort 20 yard shot which bounced just in front of Oxley and deceived the Shrimpers shot-stopper.
Oztumer was it again just nine minutes later when he doubled the Saddlers’ lead with a fine 25, yard free-kick which he accurately curled into the bottom right hand corner of the net for his 15th goal of the season.
Shrimpers boss Powell immediately responded by introducing both Michael Kightly and Marc-Antoine Fortune in quick succession.
But Walsall stood strong and Oztumer completed his hat-trick with another neat finish five minutes from time as he clinically converted a left wing cross from Luke Leahy.
A second-half hat-trick from Erhun Oztumer handed Walsall an impressive win at Southend United.
The Shrimpers' ground staff and their fans had fought hard to get the game on at Roots Hall, clearing snow off the pitch on the morning of the match.
But it was Saddlers who were more grateful for the game going ahead as Jon Whitney's side secured their first away win since November.
The defeat was also Chris Powell's first becoming Southend boss at the end of January.
However, his side should have taken the lead at the start of the second half when on-loan Tottenham youngster Shayon Harrison volleyed over from close range.
Walsall took full advantage and opened the scoring in 57th minute when Oztumer's 20-yard shot somehow squirmed past Southend goalkeeper Mark Oxley.
Oztumer then curled home a fine free-kick in the 66th minute before completing his hat-trick five minutes from time as he fired home Luke Leahy's left-wing cross from 12 yards.
Erhun Oztumer’s second-half hat-trick earned Walsall a first away win of 2018 and ended Southend manager Chris Powell’s unbeaten start.
The Roots Hall contest only went ahead after Shrimpers ground staff and fans had cleared snow off the pitch before kick-off.
Powell’s side started the day unbeaten in five and enjoyed the better of the opening half-hour, Simon Cox threatening first with a near-post effort which keeper Liam Roberts held.
Freddie Ladapo headed over from Shayon Harrison’s left-wing cross and Cox directed a free header into the arms of Roberts, who also held a tame Cox chip.
Southend’s best chance of the first half came on 30 minutes, Dru Yearwood charging down George Dobson’s clearance before being denied by the onrushing Roberts.
The Saddlers ended the half the stronger, with Kieron Morris curling a left-footed effort inches wide and Julien Ngoy exchanging passes with Oztumer before bending a 20-yard shot past the post.
Ngoy went close again two minutes after the resumption, rolling Michael Turner superbly but his angled drive was blocked by the legs of Shrimpers keeper Mark Oxley.
The hosts had a big chance to take the lead on 49 minutes when ex-Saddler Jason Demetriou’s deep cross found Harrison unmarked but he volleyed wastefully over from close range.
After Maz Kouhyar had fired wide, the visitors broke the deadlock on 57 minutes when Oztumer’s left-footed 20-yard strike skidded off the surface and bounced over the dive of Oxley.
The diminutive playmaker struck again nine minutes later, whipping an accurate 25-yard free-kick into the bottom corner for his 15th goal of the season.
Walsall had chances to go further ahead, with George Dobson curling a free-kick over the bar and Oztumer seeing another set-piece effort parried by Oxley.
A third goal duly arrived with four minutes remaining, Luke Leahy delivering a pinpoint low cross for Oztumer to poke home and complete his first professional career treble.
Southend pressed late on but the Saddlers stood firm to perverse the clean sheet and send the 119 hardy away fans home happy.
Express & Star
Despite emergency services and weather bureau’s advising people not travel as storms continued to disrupt the country, the Shrimpers refused to call the game off with a loyal group of fans turning up before kick-off to clear the pitch of snow.
But their efforts proved in vain with the Saddlers running out comfortable winners following a dominant second-half display which saw Oztumer net three times.
Walsall’s creative schemer opened the scoring in the 57th minute when his shot from distance bobbled past Mark Oxley in the Southend goal.
Less than 10 minutes later he doubled his team’s advantage with a sweetly struck free-kick. And he then completed the rout in the closing stages when he fired in a pin-point Luke Leahy cross.
The result ensured Walsall secured their fourth away victory of the campaign. Jon Whitney’s side have also moved up to 13th in the League One table.