SOUTHEND centre Sam Nash felt the Seasiders produced their worst defensive display of the season when suffering a shock 34-27 defeat at bottom-of-the-table Exmouth in National Two South on Saturday.

Southend let a 17-0 lead slip as they crashed to an unexpected setback.

And that left Nash, one of the Seasiders’ try scorers, desperately disappointed at the end of the game.

“The match with Exmouth was the worst game defensively for us this season,” said Nash.

“We really let ourselves down in that area and Exmouth exploited that.

“We knew going down there that, although they were bottom of the table, that they had some good recent results, so we knew they would come out fighting.

“Unfortunately we just didn’t turn up mentally and they got a deserved win.”

However, it was Southend who were on top early on as a penalty from Brad Burr and a first try for the club from Swedish scrum half Simon Pierce, which Burr converted, put the visitors 10-0 up.

Second row Harry Hudson then also touched down and Burr’s conversion made it 17-0 with just 13 minutes on the clock.

Three minutes later, Exmouth hit back with centre Alistair Hill scoring a try which fly-half George Meadows converted.

Back row James Harris then also touched down with Meadows adding the extras before his penalty in the 35th minute levelled the scores.

On the stroke of half-time, second row David Bargent completed Exmouth’s comeback with another try which made it 22-17 at half-time.

Southend were initially back on top at the start of the second period with Nash touching down and Burr kicking the conversion.

Burr then added a penalty to make it 27-22 but, just past the hour mark, Exmouth levelled the scores with an unconverted try from back row James Harris.

But, nine minutes from time, it was the home side who bagged the crucial score with Bargent touching down and Meadows again adding the conversion.

The defeat kept the Seasiders eighth in the table with just two games to go.