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SOUTHEND United’s severe slump in form continued with a disappointing 2-1 defeat at struggling Northampton Town tonight.

The Cobblers started the evening bottom of the League Two table.

But they deservedly saw off the Shrimpers who have now not won for eight games and have taken just four points from the last 21 on offer.

Blues, who lined up with three at the back, started slowly and went behind after just seven minutes when a curling left wing corner from Chris Hackett was headed home from six yards by defender Mathias Kouo-Doumbe who scored for the second game in succession.

But the Cobblers were in front for only 10 minutes as Michael Timlin soon levelled for the Shrimpers.

The midfielder was sent clean through on goal by Marc Laird’s through ball and kept his composure well to stroke a low shot in to the bottom left hand corner of the net.

Blues initially stayed on top after the equaliser with the recalled Laird volleying a right wing cross from Ryan Leonard wide of the target.

However, with 35 minutes on the clock, the Cobblers wasted a far clearer chance to go back in front when Hackett’s right wing free-kick was headed down by John Marquis, only for skipper Ricky Ravenhill to somehow stab the ball over the crossbar from six yards.

Having survived the scare, Blues then failed to make the most of a promising situation as Anthony Straker teed up Barry Corr but the striker sent a tame left footed finish straight at Town goalkeeper Matt Duke from 12 yards.

The two sides were still locked level at the break and both made substitutions at the start of the second half.

Ian Morris and Alan Connell entered the action for the Cobblers in a double change 10 minutes after the interval before Freddy Eastwood replaced Lee Barnard in attack for the Shrimpers just seconds later.

But it was the new look Northampton who went in front in the 57th minute as Emile Sinclair worked his way past Mark Phillips on the right flank before delivering a low cross Hackett swept in to the bottom left hand corner of the net from 12 yards.

The Cobblers then thought they had made it 3-1 when the impressive Hackett headed home a right wing cross from Connell but the effort was ruled out for offside.

In a bid to get back in to the game, Blues made a second change in the 72nd minute with Kevan Hurst coming on to replace Laird.

Jason Williams then also took Straker’s place for the final four minutes but the Shrimpers never looked like scoring as they crashed to another disappointing defeat.