SOUTHEND United slipped to a 3-2 defeat against table-topping Peterborough United at Roots Hall this afternoon.

Two goals from Matt Godden put Posh in control before the Shrimpers hit back with goals from Tom Hopper and Stephen McLaughlin bringing them level.

However, Ivan Toney’s 86th minute goal handed Steve Evans’ side their fourth successive away win.

Blues had the better of the opening exchanges with McLaughlin sending an early long range effort over the crossbar before Simon Cox sent a deflected shot straight at Peterborough United goalkeeper Aaron Chapman.

In reply, Posh’s Jason Cummings volleyed wide of the left post from close range before Blues replied with Hopper sliding Elvis Bwomono’s right wing cross wide of the near post.

With 30 minutes on the clock, McLaughlin then had a curling free-kick pushed away by Chapman and, two minutes later, Posh broke the deadlock following a set piece of their own.

Siriki Dembele’s free-kick picked out an unmarked Jason Cummings who chested the ball down into the path of Godden whose volleyed effort appeared to bounce over the hand of Blues’ debutant goalkeeper David Stockdale on its way in.

Southend soon hit back with the fit-again Timothee Dieng having a well-struck volley parried away by Chapman before McLaughlin’s header from Ben Coker’s left wing cross was tipped over by the visiting keeper.

But, 12 minutes into the second half, Posh doubled their lead following another free-kick when Marcus Maddison’s set piece from the right flank found Ryan Tafazolli who teed up Godden to score from close range.

However, Southend soon replied in the 65th minute when Harry Bunn doing well down the left hand side and crossing for Hopper to tap home, via the inside of the right post, from close range.

With the Shrimpers pushing for an equaliser, Bunn then had a well-struck shot parried out by Chapman but the hosts continued to push forward and deservedly drew level in the 75th minute, with McLaughlin on target for the first time this season, The Irishman was picked out by a fine left wing cross from Ben Coker and netted with an accurate left footed shot from 12 yards.

Blues looked to for a winning goal with Theo Robinson replacing Cox in attack with Posh threatened next with Marcus Maddison sending a deflected effort against the crossbar.

But, four minutes from time, Toney tapped home to condemn the Shrimpers to their second home League defeat in a succession.