A SUBDUED Southend United slumped to a 2-0 defeat at Essex rivals Colchester United in the Checkatrade Trophy tonight.

Blues boss Chris Powell – who made nine changes to his starting line-up – was experiencing his first ever Essex derby.

But it was one to instantly forget as the Shrimpers failed to threaten during a disappointing display which also saw substitute Lewis Gard suffer a serious injury late on.

Southend threatened in the opening exchanges when Stephen McLaughlin’s left wing corner dropped to Shawn McCoulsky but the striker's effort was deflected wide of the left post by Frankie Kent.

In reply, Colchester defender Ryan Jackson saw a well-struck 25 yard shot smothered by Shrimpers goalkeeper Nathan Bishop at his near post.

But, in the 39th minute, the hosts took the lead when Jackson’s long throw from the right hand side found Frankie Kent whose header dribbled into the bottom left hand corner of the net in slow motion.

Moments later, Diaz Wright came close to making it 2-0 as he forced inches wide of the left post from 20 yards in the closing action of the first half.

In a bid to get back into the game, Blues boss Powell changed to a 4-4-2 formation at the break and, after the system change, Isaac Hutchinson curled a 20 yard shot straight at Colchester keeper Rene Gilmartin.

But, with 49 minutes on the clock, Colchester hit back and doubled their lead when Mikael Mandron played in Aaron Collins who netted with a low shot under the body of the advancing Bishop.

Powell responded with a double change in the 58th minute as Michael Kightly and Dru Yearwood entered the action in place of Hutchinson and Theo Robinson.

However, the U’s continued to threaten with Kane Vincent-Young firing straight at Blues goalkeeper Bishop from 20 yards before Collins fired over from a similar distance.

In reply, Taylor Moore headed McLaughlin’s right wing corner straight at Gilmartin before the Shrimpers somehow failed to score when Elvis Bwomono’s right wing cross found McCoulsky at the far post.

But, with the goal gaping, McCoulsky sent his header against Tom Eastman before seeing it deflect over for a corner.

The Shrimpers made their final change nine minutes from time with Gard replacing Renei Batlokwa in the centre of the park.

But, just minutes after his introduction, the promising midfielder suffered a serious leg injury which, after a lengthy of spell of treatment, saw him stretchered off.

As a result, the Shrimpers saw out the closing stages with just 10 men as their four match unbeaten run came to an end in tame and timid fashion.