SOUTHEND United skipper Ben Coker felt the Shrimpers paid the price for not being ‘at it’ against Walsall on Saturday.

Blues’ 3-0 defeat at Roots Hall ended their five match unbeaten streak since the appointment of Chris Powell as manager.

And Coker was unable to hide his disappointment at the final whistle.

“We’ve been on a very good run, but I just don’t think we were quite at it for some reason,” said the Blues left-back.

“I think you could tell we hadn’t played in a couple of weeks, but that’s no excuse.

“We needed to be better in every area really and we’re very disappointed.”

The Shrimpers’ back four was breached three times by Walsall’s attacking midfielder Erhun Oztumer in the second half.

But Coker refused to blame Blues’ first setback since January on the state of the pitch.

“It was difficult, but the pitch is always difficult at Roots Hall at the minute,” said Coker.

“It was sticky in patches and I think their first goal has hit a divot on its way in but it’s just something you have to take at times.”

However, Coker felt Oztumer’s first goal - which came just before the hour mark - was crucial in deciding the outcome of a previously evenly contested encounter.

“I think whoever scored first was always going to be the winner,” said Coker.

“We had a few chances, but it wasn’t our day. “ And the defender was particularly disappointed to have been beaten after all of the efforts which had gone into making sure the game went ahead despite the poor weather.

“It’s very frustrating,” said Coker.

“The fans came and cleared the pitch and we owe them a massive thank you for doing that, but I’m gutted we couldn’t repay them for that.

“We’re all very frustrated in there.”

The defeat saw the Shrimpers slip down to 14th in the League One standings.

And Coker has now set his sights on making sure Blues get back on track against Doncaster Rovers at Roots Hall on Saturday.

“We have to bounce back now and with the group of lads we’ve got in there I think we will,” said Coker.

“We’ll come back in and we’ll give all we’ve got again.

“I massively belief this is a blip.

“We’ve come a long way since the new manager has come in.

“He’s been brilliant since getting the job and we’ve all got to give it our best shot now next weekend.”