SOUTHEND United’s struggles continued with a 2-0 defeat to high-flying Coventry City at Roots Hall this afternoon.

A young Shrimpers side shut out their high flying hosts in an uneventful first half.

But goals from substitutes Callum O’Hare and Maxime Biamou saw Blues slump to a third defeat in succession.

Despite the result, Blues threatened early on when a great passing move saw Brandon Goodship through on goal but Coventry defender Dominic Hyam got back well to make a vital challenge.

Moments later, City’s Jordan Shipley saw a deflected 20 yard shot parried to safety by Blues goalkeeper Mark Oxley before the hosts hit back with Sam Barratt’s free-kick from the right flank curling over the crossbar.

Terrell Egrbi then saw a goalbound effort blocked by the Coventry defence before Barratt sent a 20 yard shot wide of the left post.

But Coventry replied and came close to scoring in the 28th minute when Shipley’s effort struck the outside of the left upright from the edge of the penalty area.

Ten minutes the visitors were again denied by the woodwork when Liam Walsh curled a 25 yard free-kick against the crossbar before Oxley easily gathered a close range header from Hyam.

With Coventry remaining on top, Oxley then gathered a header from Michael Rose before the visitors broke the deadlock on the hour mark when substitute Callum O’Hare ran from deep before sending a low shot into the bottom right hand corner of the net from 18 yards.

Moments later, Blues suffered further frustration when City right-back Fankaty Dabo brought down Barratt.

But a second yellow card was not shown by referee Sam Purkiss and the full back was taken off just moments later.

Blues also made a change in the 68th minute with 16-year-old Kenny Coker replacing Goodship in attack.

However, it was Coventry who stayed on top and Mark Robins’ came close to doubling their lead when Sam McCallum’s free-kick from the right flank bounced back off the crossbar.

Coventry were not to be denied a second goal though and, in the 79th minute, Biamou shrugged aside Miles Mitchell-Nelson before sending a low 12 yard shot into the bottom right hand corner of the net.

Blues immediately responded by making a second change as Isaac Hutchinson took the place of Sam Barratt.

And, four minutes from time, 18-year-old goalkeeper Callum Taylor was handed his first team debut in place of the injured Oxley.

Taylor was immediately involved as he denied Matt Godden down to his right hand side to stop the Shrimpers suffering an even heavier defeat.