TEN-MAN Southend United sunk to their second home defeat in the space of two weeks against Dagenham & Redbridge at Roots Hall tonight.

The Shrimpers fought hard after having defender Mark Phillips sent off for a wreckless challenge on Rhys Murphy after just 27 minutes.

But it was Murphy who bagged what proved to be the only goal of the game with a neatly controlled first half finish.

Daggers had beaten Blues 5-2 in their previous visit and began brightly this time around with Luke Howell running clean through on goal and sending a 12 yard shot wide of the left post.

Blues soon hit back and came close to opening the scoring themselves when Will Atkinson’s right wing cross struck Daggers defender Scott Doe before being instinctively blocked by visiting goalkeeper Chris Lewington.

But Dagenham were soon back on top and, in the 23rd minute, they again came close to opening the scoring when a spell of pinball in front of goal resulted in Brian Saah sending a close range shot against the foot of the right post.

However, four minutes later, the Shrimpers were reduced to 10 men when Phillips was sent off for the first time in eight years.

The experienced centre-back had not been dismissed since playing for Millwall at Brighton & Hove Albion in February 2005.

But he was shown a straight red card by referee James Linington following a strong, late challenge on Daggers striker Rhys Murphy.

The in-form forward was not to be deterred though and, just four minutes after Phillips was ordered off, the former Arsenal trainee fired the visitors in front.

The striker was sent clear in the right hand side of the penalty area and sent a delicate chip over the advancing Daniel Bentley for his seventh goal of the season, despite the best efforts of Ben Coker on the goal-line.

Daggers remained on top after the goal with the lively Hines firing a low, 25 yard shot straight at Bentley and the visitors continued to attack at the start of the second half with Murphy shooting over from just inside the penalty area.

The Shrimpers soon replied with Cauley Woodrow having a scorching 30 yard shot tipped over by Lewington On the hour mark, Conor Clifford fired a long range effort over the South Stand crossbar before Blues made their first change of the night in the 67th minute with Freddy Eastwood coming on to replace Kevan Hurst.

Shortly after the change, Woodrow sent a low, left footed shot straight at Lewington from the edge of the penalty area and, shortly after, Blues made their second substitution with Anthony Straker coming on for Clifford.

However, an error from Straker then almost enabled Dagenham to make it 2-0 as Abu Ogogo tackled the winger inside his own penalty area before unleashing a low shot which was parried out by Bentley.

Medy Elito volleyed the resulting rebound inches wide of the right post but Blues continued to push for an equaliser with Eastwood having a well struck 20 yard shot tipped wide of the right post by Lewington.

The Shrimpers’ final change came in the 77th minute with Jack Payne replacing Barry Corr and the midfielder saw plenty of the ball during a lively cameo.

But he was unable to help Phil Brown’s side conjure up a late leveller as Blues’ winning run came to an end.