SOUTHEND United’s winless streak extended to eight matches after slipping to a 1-0 defeat at table-topping Shrewsbury Town tonight.

Shrews midfielder Jon Nolan bagged the only goal of the game midway through the first half.

And, despite producing an improved second half performance, Blues were unable to equalise as they failed to convert a succession of good chances.

Shrewsbury – who have yet to lose in League One this season – started strongly and came close to taking an early lead when Stefan Payne’s downward header from Shaun Whalley’s right wing free-kick was smartly saved by Shrimpers goalkeeper Mark Oxley down to his right hand side.

But, moments later, Payne was causing even more problems as he raced onto a poor pass from Elvis Bwomono before sending a low, angled effort against the foot of the left post.

Blues soon hit back with Dru Yearwood – who was one of five changes to the starting line-up – sent Marc-Antoine Fortune’s left wing cross straight at Shrews goalkeeper Dean Henderson who then parried away two powerful efforts from Stephen McLaughlin in quick succession.

However, Shrewsbury immediately replied and opened the scoring in the 23rd minute, with Nolan on target.

The midfielder showed good pace to charge into the left hand side of the Shrimpers’ penalty area before firing home from close range.

Southend almost netted an immediate equaliser when Jason Demetriou – who lined up at left-back – sent a long range free-kick inches wide of the right post before Yearwood’s low 20 yard shot was topped wide of the left post by Henderson in the closing action of the first half.

After the break, Michael Timlin stabbed Fortune’s right wing cross inches wide of the left post before Harry Kyprianou’s header from Jermaine McGlashan’s centre was smothered by Henderson.

With the Shrimpers remaining on top, Ryan Leonard headed Bwomomo’s right wing cross fractionally wide of the right post before the Shrews replied with Nolan seeing a shot smothered by Oxley at the second attempt.

However, Southend were soon back on top and were screaming for a penalty in the 63rd minute when Timlin went to ground while under pressure from Aristote Nsiala but referee Ross Joyce opted to wave play on.

Seven minutes later Blues made their first change with Theo Robinson replacing McGlashan before Simon Cox came on for Yearwood in the 79th minute.

And Cox soon came close to equalising when his glancing header from Kyprianou’s right wing cross was superbly saved by Henderson to ensure another victory for the in-form Shrews.