Southend United lost their top half status in the National League as they were beaten 2-0 by Yeovil Town, who picked up their third consecutive victory, at Huish Park this afternoon.
Both sides gathered to remember former Yeovil Town captain Lee Collins with a minute applause prior to kick-off, and the hosts made a quick start in his honour to launch themselves into a two-goal lead, as Reuben Reid and Tom Knowles both found the target within the first eight minutes.
The early setback proved decisive, as Kevin Maher’s men fell to their third defeat from their last four matches.
New signing Kenny Clark started in the heart of Blues’ defence as the only change to the starting line-up that suffered a 2-1 setback against Maidenhead United in the week.
And it was a tough start to life for the 33-year-old, as Blues struggled to get going and the Glovers’ pace in wide areas was exposing the visitors’ backline.
Maher’s side were punished swiftly after the game begun as Reid scored his second goal of the season just four minutes in.
A corner wasn’t properly defended, and the second ball fell to Lawson D’Ath, who whipped a delightful ball into Reid, the striker turned smartly and tucked his effort past Steve Arnold.
Just four minutes later, Darren Sarll’s side doubled their lead.
Charlie Wakefield got in behind the Blues defence and drove a ball across the face of goal, which was gratefully received by Knowles at the back post unmarked to tap home.
With a two-goal lead behind them, the home side were happy to see the game turn scrappy, Blues enjoyed a spell of possession but were unable to force any real openings.
Jack Bridge hit the side netting in the 36th minute as he weaved in and out of the Yeovil backline.
But Maher’s outfit were lucky to not be three goals down by the half time interval, Knowles was found beyond Blues’ backline and beat Arnold with his effort towards the far post, but Shaun Hobson recovered heroically to head off the line.
Knowles caused the away side plenty of problems in the first half, and the second period continued in that vein.
He forced a smart save from Arnold seven minutes after the break, as Queens Park Rangers loanee Joe Gubbins entered the fray for his Blues debut.
A frustrating afternoon for Maher’s side, Harry Cardwell made his return off the bench and did well to take the ball from height into his path in the Yeovil box, but the striker could only see his effort deflected out for a corner.
Five minutes before time, Clark lost the ball to the newly introduced Olufela Olomola, who raced through towards goal, but the Blues defender managed to rectify his wrongdoings with a recovering challenge to send the ball out for a corner.
Ultimately, Maher’s side hardly threatened Ted Cann in the opposing goal and the Glovers eased to a comfortable conclusion.
Yeovil Town XI – Cann, Little, Wilkinson, Barclay, Williams, D’Ath (Bradley 90+2), Gorman, Worthington, Knowles, Reid (Olomola 85’), Wakefield (Neufville 62’). Subs not used: Barnett, Staunton.
Southend United XI – Arnold, Hobson, Bridge (Cardwell 58’), Dalby, Clifford, Atkinson, Neal, Clark, Davies, Dennis (Powell 70’), Kensdale (Gubbins 45’). Subs not used: Gard, Demetriou.
Referee: Gary Parsons
Assistants: Peter Lowe & Sean Jenkins
Fourth Official: Paul Barber
Yeovil Town: Reid (4’) Knowles (8’)
Southend United: N/A
Yeovil Town: N/A
Southend United: Clifford (74’) Gubbins (78’)
Attendance: 2465 (411)