SOUTHEND United’s poor home form continued with a 2-1 defeat against Bristol Rovers this afternoon.

The Pirates, who are managed by ex Shrimper Graham Coughlan, raced into a two goal lead at Roots Hall.

And, despite Blues striker Simon Cox scoring just before the break, Chris Powell’s side were unable to avoid their ninth home defeat of the League One season.

Rovers started the game brightly and only a stunning double save from Nathan Bishop stopped the visitors opening the scoring after just nine minutes.

The Shrimpers shot-stopper did well to keep out Ollie Clarke’s effort from 25 yards before recovering quickly to somehow block Gavin Reilly’s follow up effort from close range.

But, with 20 minutes on the clock, the visitors did take the lead when Tom Nicholls beat Bishop to the ball inside the penalty area and teed up Sercombe to fire home from 12 yards.

Twelve minutes later, the Pirates doubled their lead when Nicholls played a through ball into the path of Reilly who raced clean through on goal before netting with a low, left footed shot into the left hand side of the South Stand net.

The shell shocked Blues got back into the game in 39th minute, with Cox netting his 12th goal of the season.

The striker reacted sharply after Rovers goalkeeper Jack Bonham had parried out a long range effort from Dru Yearwood and fired home from close range.

However, the Pirates soon came close to restoring a two goal cushion with Reilly sending a header straight at Bishop from 12 yards on the stroke of half-time.

Blues boss Chris Powell made two changes at the break, with Michael Kightly and Stephen McLaughlin entering the action as the hosts also swapped to a 4-4-2 formation.

But it was still Rovers who threatened next with Reilly sending a well-struck left footed shot crashing against the crossbar before Reilly sent his follow up effort over.

The Shrimpers hit back in the 70th minute with Cox having an effort ruled out for offside after Bonham had parried out a low shot from McLaughlin.

Blues made their final change eight minutes from time with Charlie Kelman replacing Sam Hart but the home-side failed to threaten late on as Rovers held on for a win which saw them work their way out of the relegation zone.