SOUTHEND United’s wretched season continued with a dire 4-1 defeat to fellow strugglers AFC Wimbledon at Roots Hall this afternoon.

The Dons went into the game just one place above the Shrimpers towards the foot of the League One standings.

But a hat-trick from the in-form Marcus Forss helped Wimbledon pile more misery on Blues who have now been beaten 10 times in 12 League outings this term.

Wimbledon started brightly with former Shrimpers striker Joe Pigott sending a deflected 20 yard shot wide of the left post.

But the visitors were not to be denied for long and, with five minutes on the clock, they broke the deadlock with Forss bursting into the right hand side of the penalty area before netting with a deflected, low shot.

Six minutes later, the Dons doubled their lead with Forss on target for the fifth time in five games.

The on loan Brentford forward reacted sharply following a goalmouth scramble, which included a fine save from Mark Oxley, before firing home from eight yards.

However, the shell-shocked Shrimpers replied just two minutes later with Nathan Ralph delivering a fine left wing cross which Timothee Dieng headed into the bottom right hand corner of the net from six yards.

Moments later, Blues were forced into making their first change of the afternoon as Harry Lennon went off injured and was replaced by Isaac Hutchinson in a move which saw Rob Kiernan move back into the defence.

Southend remained on the front foot with Elvis Bwomono having a 20 yard shot tipped wide of the right post by Dons goalkeeper Nathan Trott before Simon Cox headed over a right wing cross from Bwomono.

The visitors replied with Mitch Pinnock – a former Blues winger - volleying over from 12 yards before the hosts hit back with Kiernan volleying straight at Trott following a left wing corner from Brandon Goodship.

The Shrimpers’ spell of pressure did not bring an equaliser and Wimbledon took full advantage by extending their lead seven minutes into the second half, with Forss completing his hat-trick.

The striker’s third goal of the afternoon came from the penalty spot after referee Simon Hooper penalised Kiernan for a push on Ryan Delaney as he attempted to reach a right wing corner from Pinnock.

And Forss made of the most of the opportunity as he impressively slammed his penalty into the top right hand corner of the net.

Blues responded by making a second change in the 71st minute as the fit-again Tom Hopper ended close to a year long spell on the sidelines with a cruciate ligament injury by replacing Nathan Ralph.

However, the visitors remained on top with Pigott having a close range effort tipped wide of the left post by Oxley.

But, from the resulting Max Sanders corner, the visitors made it 4-1 with Ryan Delaney rising high to nod home a powerful header.

Blues soon made a third change with Jason Demetriou replacing Elvis Bwomono at right-back but it was the visitors who continued to threaten with Oxley doing well to keep out Kwesi Appiah’s close range header in the closing stages.