Mark Molesley’s side failed to make it back to back away wins for the first time since 2018, in a match where Southend failed to take their chances against an in-form Bolton side as they fell to a 3-0 defeat at the University of Bolton Stadium.
The game started evenly with both sides having early spells of possession, with Bolton captain Antoni Sarcevic going the closest early on. After just seven minutes, following a couple of fortunate ricochets for the former Plymouth man, Sarcevic went in on goal, but thankfully for Blues he fired well over the crossbar.
Terrell Egbri had the first notable effort of the game for Southend around the half-hour mark as he took a long-range effort towards Matt Gilks' goal, which saw the former Scotland international parry the ball out for a corner on the left-hand side.
Blues went close again off the resulting corner, as Jason Demetriou pulled the corner back around 25-yards out, where Alan McCormack met the ball on the volley. Unfortunately for Southend, the Irishman’s effort whistled just wide of the right-hand post.
In the 35th minute, Brandon Goodship then went close for Blues following a cross into the box from Elvis Bwomono down the right-hand side. Timothee Dieng met the ball and bundled it into Goodship's path whose effort from 10-yards out went straight at Gilks in the Bolton goal.
Cruelly, against the run of play, Blues fell behind on the stroke of half-time as a cross in from the right-wing saw experienced striker Nathan Delfouneso meet the ball just eight yards out, heading the ball into the bottom right-hand corner past a helpless Mark Oxley.
Just five minutes into the second half, Southend looked to grab an equaliser as Demetriou controlled a cleared right-wing cross and struck a curling effort towards the Bolton goal, which forced Gilks to pull off a smart save as he turned the Cypriot's effort round the post for a corner.
In the 63rd minute on a counter-attack, Bolton were awarded a penalty as John White was judged to have tripped up Eoin Doyle when the Irish striker was bearing down on goal. The former Swindon man scored the resulting spot-kick with an emphatic finish as he blasted it into the left-hand side of the goal, sending Oxley the wrong way.
Southend continued to look for a way back into the match and missed another gilt-edged opportunity as Harry Kyprianou swung in a left-footed delivery from a free kick on the left-wing which Shaun Hobson met, only to head the ball well over the crossbar from close range when he ought to have scored.
With ten minutes to go on the clock, Bolton settled the result as they caught Blues out on the counter-attack as Alex Baptiste rolled back the years with a marauding run down the right-wing, before whipping a cross to Doyle at the far post who put the ball into a virtually empty net to double his tally for the day.
Blues went close to grabbing a late consolation goal as second-half substitutes Tom Clifford and Emile Acquah combined, with the latter heading Clifford’s cross towards the bottom right-hand corner, forcing veteran goalkeeper Gilks into another fine save.
All in all, it was a tough defeat to take having created several good chances. Mark Molesley’s side will be looking to bounce back and be more clinical in front of goal when they face Stevenage at the Lamex Stadium next Saturday.
Bolton Wanderers Line-up: Matt Gilks, Gethin Jones (Jamie Mascoll 84’), Alex Baptiste, Ricardo Almeida Santos, Ryan Delaney, Peter Kioso (Ronan Darcy 84’), Andrew Tutte (Tom White 13’), Ali Crawford (Lloyd Isgrove 75’), Antoni Sarcevic (C)(Brandon Comley 84’), Nathan Delfouneso, Eoin Doyle
Subs Not Used: Billy Crellin, Reiss Greenidge.
Southend United Line-up: Mark Oxley, Elvis Bwomono, John White (C), Shaun Hobson, Harry Kyprianou (Tom Clifford 80’), Terrell Egbri (Richard Taylor 80’), Timothee Dieng, Alan McCormack (Kazaiah Sterling 67’), Jason Demetriou, James Olayinka, Brandon Goodship (Emile Acquah 80’).
Subs Not Used: Harry Seaden, Harry Phillips, Matt Rush.
Referee: John Busby
Assistants: David Avent, Mark Cunliffe.
Fourth Official: Andy Haines
Bolton Wanderers: Nathan Delfouneso 45+1', Eoin Doyle (p)65', 81'
Southend United: None
Bolton Wanderers: Antoni Sarcevic 53', Tom White 79'
Southend United: None