SOUTHEND United sunk to their third successive league defeat this afternoon, losing 3-0 at play off rivals Exeter City.

Blues, who lost influential midfielder Marc Laird through injury after 29 minutes, thought they had taken the lead when Barry Corr’s header from Gavin Tomlin’s right wing cross bounced down after hitting the underside of the crossbar.

However, the match officials deemed the ball had not crossed the line and Exeter took full advantage of the let off by going in front in the 43rd minute when John O’Flynn drilled a low 18 yard shot in to the back of the net via the inside of the left post.

That effort came slightly against the run of play but Exeter were by far the stronger side after the break and doubled their in the 80th minute, with Scot Bennett on target.

The midfielder leapt high to meet a left wing corner from Matt Oakley and headed a looping effort back over Blues goalkeeper Paul Smith and in to the left hand side of the goal.

The Grecians then completed the scoring three minutes from time when O’Flynn tapped home after being teed up by Jimmy Keohane.