SOUTHEND Saxons’ director of rugby Josh Ward was a frustrated figure after seeing his side suffer a disappointing 41-17 defeat to Eton Manor at Warners Bridge.

The setback saw Southend slip to fourth in the London One North standings as Manor completed the double over their hosts.

And Ward felt the visitors were worthy winners.

“I was really disappointed with that one on Saturday,” said Ward.

“Firstly, Eton Manor were excellent I felt and deserved everything they got.

“I thought their nine was outstanding and managed them really well.

“We started slowly but I felt we responded with some good play of our own and some good scores.

“It was nip and tuck for large parts of the first half but some costly unforced errors and defensive lapses have cost us dearly.”

Southend trailed 19-12 at half-time before Eton Manor raced clear in the second half.

But Ward wants Saxons to learn lessons from the setback.

“It was a big day in our season and a big day of learning for us,” said Ward.

“One thing that we will never do as a group is give up.

“We’ve got some great characters in our group and the league is still so tight.

“There are 60 points to go for and the games are coming thick and fast.

“It’s exciting and we’ve just got to be more consistent for 80 minutes.

“Colchester are next and we’ll be ready.”

Southend started sluggishly on Saturday and soon found themselves 14-0 down with the visitors scoring two tries in quick succession.

The hosts hit back with tries from Collen Smith and Mitch Bennett to cut Manor’s lead to just two points but the visitors bagged another try before the break.

Southend got back into the game at the start of the second half when the returning Tom Ashton teed up Tom Richards to score as Saxons again returned to within two points. But that proved to be Southend’s last score of the game as Manor cruised clear.

Southend: Ramsey, Richards, Bennett, Ashton, Banks, Lloyd, Branch, Smith, Grier, Armitage, Newton, Morrison, Read, Law, Wagstaff. Replacements: Reeman, O’Kill & Day