STRUGGLING Southend United were unable to get their own back on Doncaster Rovers tonight as they slumped to a 3-1 defeat at the Keepmoat Stadium.

Blues were trounced 7-1 by Rovers at Roots Hall back in October.

But Sol Campbell’s side never looked like exacting revenge as their wretched record against Doncaster continued - despite a late goal from debutant midfielder Harry Phillips.

The Shrimpers have now gone 11 games without beating Rovers and remain in deep trouble towards the foot of the table.

But, despite their struggles, Blues threatened early on with Stephen Humphrys latching onto an under-hit Cameron John back-pass, only for him to be stopped in his tracks by Doncaster goalkeeper Seny Dieng.

Moments later, Rovers left-back Reece James fired over from long range before the hosts opened the scoring in the 24th minute with Niall Ennis on target.

The striker collected the ball on the edge of the penalty area and turned sharply before sending a low shot into the bottom left hand corner of the net.

Blues came close to netting an immediate equaliser when Jason Demetriou’s right wing cross was headed against the outside of the left post by Humphrys.

But Humprhys suffered a whack to the face while making the effort before also appearing to pick up another knock which led to him being taking off in the 38th minute.

He was replaced in attack by Sam Barratt but Doncaster remained on top and came close to making it 2-0 when Tom Anderson’s header was nodded off the line by Stephen McLaughlin.

In reply, Phillips sent a long range effort wide of the left post before the hosts hit back to double their lead in the 41st minute with Kieran Sadlier cutting inside and curling a 20 yard shot into the right hand side of the net.

Doncaster stayed on top at the start of the second half and extended their lead in the 55th minute when Jon Taylor’s right wing corner picked out an unmarked Sadlier who headed home from eight yards.

Rovers almost made it 4-0 when James Coppinger saw a goalbound effort blocked by John White.

The Shrimpers responded by making their second change of the night in the 65th minute as Isaac Hutchinson replaced Sam Mantom. And, just seconds after the change, the visitors almost got back in the game when a long range free-kick from Stephen McLaughlin struck the inside of the right post.

However, Blues were not to be denied and they worked their way onto the scoresheet in the 70th minute when a long range effort from Phillips deflected over the head of Dieng.

The strike was a memorable moment for the highly-rated youngster who has been with Blues since the age of nine.

Rovers came within a whisker of immediately making it 4-1 when Coppinger smacked a curling effort against the top of the right post in the closing action of the evening.