PHIL Brown slumped to his biggest defeat as Southend United manager as the Shrimpers were thrashed 5-0 at Rotherham United this afternoon.

Blues conceded a trio of goals inside the opening 23 minutes of the match at the New York Stadium.

And the Millers also netted either side of half-time – with Kieffer Moore completing a hat-trick as Brown suffered his heaviest setback since coming to the club in March 2013.

Rotherham dominated proceedings right from the start with Moore having a downward header tipped wide of the left post by Blues goalkeeper Mark Oxley before Darren Potter fired over from 12 yards.

With the home-side remaining on top, Semi Ajayi then headed over the crossbar from eight yards before Jamie Proctor wasted a clearer chance to score, heading Lee Freckington’s right wing cross over the crossbar from 10 yards when he should have done better.

However, Rotherham did not have to wait too much longer for the game’s opening goal as they broke the deadlock in the 15th minute, with Moore on target.

The striker was teed up by Ryan Williams after Anton Ferdinand’s attempted clearance had been charged down and netted with a low shot from the right hand side of the penalty area.

Within 60 seconds, things got even worse for Southend as Moore netted his second of the afternoon tapping home a low, left wing cross from Proctor.

In reply, a quickly taken free-kick then saw a stretching Shrimpers striker Simon Cox heading over from 12 yards.

But Rotherham soon hit back and made it 3-0 in the 23rd minute when Proctor teed up Joe Newell who curled a 20 yard shot high into the top right hand corner of the net.

Blues boss Brown responded by bringing on Rob Kiernan in place of Jermaine McGlashan but it was still Rotherham who threatened next with Moore heading a left wing corner over the crossbar from eight yards.

Newell then had another effort smothered by Oxley but the Millers extended their lead on the stroke of half-time with Proctor delivering a low right wing which Moore converted with a clinical finish to complete his hat-trick.

The shell shocked Shrimpers momentarily threatened at the start of the second half with Marc-Antoine Fortune being denied by Richard O’Donnell with the visitors’ first effort of the afternoon on target.

But Rotherham were soon back on top with Williams charging through on goal – only to be denied by the legs of Oxley.

However – with 59 minutes of the clock – the Millers made it 5-0 as Moore’s right wing cross found Williams who fired into a gaping goal from six yards.

Blues responded with Theo Robinson replacing Cox in attack before Stephen McLaughlin came on for Anton Ferdinand in the 65th minute.

But, Rotherham still threatened with David Ball being denied twice in quick succession by Blues goalkeeper Oxley before Michael Timlin failed to connect with Robinson's left wing cross and Marc-Antoine Fortune struck the post in the closing action of an embarrasing afternoon for the Shrimpers.