SATURDAY’S clash with Oxford United was Blues’ third in the space of just eight days – and, in truth, it probably showed.

Southend started brightly in torrential rain at Roots Hall and enjoyed their best spell of the game early on.

During that spell, Tom Hopper saw a low effort blocked by the legs of visiting goalkeeper Jonathan Mitchell before Simon Cox came even closer to scoring as he unleashed a powerful shot which somehow managed to hit both the crossbar and the post but not the back of the net.

However, after that, the Shrimpers seemed to run out of steam and, as the game progressed, it was Oxford who looked the more likely to score.

A busy recent schedule would certainly not have helped Blues but the enforced departure of John White also proved problematic.

Southend boss Chris Powell again opted to start his side in a 5-3-2 formation but when White limped off with a hamstring problem after just 38 minutes he opted to revert back to 4-4-2.

Powell had no natural centre-back on the bench with Harry Kyprianou not making the bench and that left the Shrimpers chief without a direct replacement.

Despite being defenders, neither Elvis Bwomono or Stephen Hendrie have ever been used in a central role and Powell’s only option – if he had wanted to stick with the same formation – would have been to put midfielder Timothee Dieng at the back.

Dieng lined up there at the start of his career but has not featured in that role for quite some time and Powell eventually opted to bring on Michael Kightly and switch to four at the back.

That exact change helped Blues fight back to win at Burton Albion on Tuesday night and that display would have been fresh in Powell’s mind when he made the alteration for the second match in succession.

This time around however, the substitution did not have the same effect and what eventually transpired was a dull and dreary encounter which will fill up less than a line in the end of season review.

With Oxford slipping down to the foot of the League One table after the stalemate and Blues having come into the contest on the back of three successive wins, the final whistle would have been greeted by an overwhelming sense of frustration.

But once the wounds have been licked and you begin to delve a little deeper, it is still apparent the Shrimpers are starting to move in the right direction.

Saturday’s draw made it 10 points out of 12 but, before that run begun, things were not looking too bright for Blues.

A dire 2-0 defeat at Shrewsbury Town signalled a third setback in succession as the Shrimpers produced a timid and tame display.

Since then, Blues have switched to a 5-3-2 formation which suits the players at their disposal and boss Powell has been further boosted by the return of two influential players.

Goalkeeper Mark Oxley has returned between the sticks following what eventually proved to be a four game suspension and he pulled off a stunning last gasp save to secure the Shrimpers a share of the spoils.

The stop followed an equally impressive effort Oxley made at Burton in the week as he continues to work his way back into the good books after his needless red card.

Further forward, Dru Yearwood is also back in action in the centre of the park having recovered from the hamstring injury which delayed the start of his season.

Saturday’s showing was Yearwood’s third since his comeback and was by far his most impressive yet which bodes well for the forthcoming fixtures, as too does the defensive display from Taylor Moore.

The on loan Bristol City youngster oozed class and composure at the back and helped to ensure Blues picked up their second home clean sheet in succession.

But, with the Shrimpers strikers enduring a frustrating afternoon in front of goal, the hosts had to settle for just a point.

Tom Hopper and Cox had both gone into the game in fine form however, Blues now need goals to come from other areas of the team.

As things stand, no midfielders or defenders have netted from open play for Southend this season and that must change if the Shrimpers are to continue their upward spiral and make Saturday's feeling of frustration far less frequent.