Blues’ fight for survival goes down to the final day of the season after Ian Henderson’s solitary strike was enough for Rochdale to beat Southend 1-0 at the Crown Oil Arena.
In tricky conditions, clear chances were at a premium in the first-half with Blues going closest when Taylor Moore’s looping header had to be tipped over by Josh Lillis.
Rochdale though would open the scoring early in the second-half, capitalising on a mistake from Timothee Dieng whose wayward back-pass resulted in a corner for the home side.
From the set-piece, Ethan Hamilton fired the ball on target, forcing a save from Mark Oxley, only for their captain Henderson to score what turned out to be the winner from close range.
In front of a superb 1,115 away fans, Southend thought they grabbed a late point when Stephen McLaughlin had the ball in the net in stoppage time, but it was ruled out for offside.
Victory for Rochdale secured their League One status for next season, while Blues now have to wait until the final game of the campaign against Sunderland at Roots Hall.