SOUTHEND United’s wretched start to the season continued with a 4-3 defeat at Shrewsbury Town tonight.

The Shrimpers – who again had caretaker boss Gary Waddock in charge – have now taken just one point from their first eight games of the campaign.

And it was more poor defending which saw Blues slump to their latest setback.

Shrewsbury opened the scoring in the 19th minute when Ethan Ebanks-Landell won the ball from Brandon Goodship before delivering a low, right wing cross which Omar Beckles converted at the near post.

Moments later, Shrewsbury came close to doubling their lead when Ryan Giles struck the foot of the right post with an angled effort from long range but the hosts were not to be denied for long, with Jason Cummings doubling their lead in the 27th minute.

The summer signing collected the ball on the edge of the penalty area after Nathan Ralph had been dispossessed and curled home a delicate, left footed shot via the inside of the left post.

However, the effort sparked the Shrimpers into life and, just two minutes later, the visitors were back in the game with Stephen McLaughlin on target for the second game in succession.

The winger was picked out by a fine right wing cross from Elvis Bwomono and netted with an excellently taken looping header.

McLaughlin then saw a low, left footed shot smothered by Max O’Leary before the Shrews keeper also held onto a 20 yard volley from Simon Cox as Blues pushed for an equaliser.

The Shrimpers also started the second half brightly with Stephen Humphrys charging forward before dragging a left footed shot wide of the right post from 20 yards.

The Shrews soon replied with Sean Goss having a long range free-kick pushed out by Oxley who recovered quickly to also keep out Lang’s follow up effort.

However, Shrewsbury soon restored a two goal cushion with 61 minutes on the clock as Shaun Whalley’s jinking run forward was not stopped the Blues back four, enabling the winger to roll a pass into the path of Ollie Norburn who rolled a low 20 yard shot into the bottom left hand corner of the net.

The Shrimpers responded by bringing on Luke Hyam in place of Ethan Hamilton before Jason Demetriou took the place of Ralph.

And, in the 77th minute, the visitors were back in the game when a fine counter-attacking move involving Simon Cox and McLaughlin resulted in Goodship teeing up Humphrys to score his fifth goal of the season with a fine, low finish into the left hand side of the net.

But, just six minutes later, the hosts made it 4-2 as Elvis Bwomono was dispossessed by Josh Laurent who played in Callum Lang to fire home with a simple finish.

The Shrimpers replied in stoppage time with Cox sending a scorching 20 yard shot into the top right hand corner of the net with his left foot but by then the damage had already been done at the other end of the pitch.