TEN MAN Southend United sunk to a depressing 2-0 defeat at Plymouth Argyle this afternoon.
The Shrimpers initially battled well after having defender Cian Bolger sent off after just 15 minutes.
But second half strikes from Lewis Alessandra and Reuben Reid ensured it was the Pilgrims who came out on top.
Blues’ hopes of getting back to winning ways suffered a nightmare start when Bolger was dismissed for a second bookable offence.
The shaky looking centre-back was shown a yellow card for a foul on Marvin Morgan and was then lucky to avoid a second when he brought the speedy striker once more on the right flank.
However, Bolger’s let off was to be a temporary one as the Irishman was soon dismissed, for another foul on Morgan.
The Shrimpers immediately readjusted by bringing Adam Thompson on in place of Kevan Hurst.
Thompson lined up alongside Luke Prosser at the back but he soon popped up at the other end of the field and seemed incredibly unfortunate not to win a penalty when he fell to the floor, following a challenge from Morgan, inside the area.
Referee Brendan Malone seemed set to award the spot-kick with his whistle moving towards his mouth but, on the advice of the linesman, he then opted to wave play on.
Southend continued to keep the ball nicely in the remainder of the first half and, created a decent chance for skipper John White, only for the full-back to drag his shot well wide of the target.
Having survived the scare, Plymouth hit back and opened the scoring seven minutes in to the second half, with Alessandra on target.
The goal was created by right-back Kelvin Mellor who advanced past sliding challenges from Prosser and Ryan Leonard before teeing up Alessandra who fired a low, left footed shot in to the bottom left hand corner of the net from eight yards.
Argyle continued to push forward after going on front with Alessandra having a goalbound effort brilliantly blocked by Prosser before Daniel Bentley did superbly well to keep out Carl McHugh’s 12 yard header.
In a bid to get back in to the game, Blues made their second substitution in the 64th minute with Shaq Coulthirst coming on for Barry Corr.
But, four minutes later, Plymouth doubled their lead with Alessandra this time the creator.
The former Oldham Athletic forward worked his way past Ben Coker on the right flank before crossing to the far post where Reid was on hand to head home from eight yards.
The Shrimpers’ final change soon followed with David Worrall replacing Myles Weston but they were unable to get back in to the game.