SOUTHEND United’s horror season continued with a 2-0 defeat against in-form Port Vale at Roots Hall this afternoon.

The bottom of the table Blues have now gone 13 games without a win this season.

And two second half headers from experienced Vale striker Tom Pope proved to be Mark Molesley’s side undoing in their latest setback.

Vale wasted a huge chance to score early on when David Amoo’s deep right wing cross found David Worrall at the far post but the ex Shrimpers winger saw his close range header parried out by goalkeeper Mark Oxley.

Moments later, Vale again came close to taking the lead with Tom Conlon sending a low effort against the foot of the left post before Worrall’s follow up effort was well saved by Oxley.

With Vale still pushing for an opener, Scott Burgess sent a deflected 20 yard shot inches wide of the right post before Nathan Smith had a close range effort ruled out for offside.

The visitors again came close to scoring on the stroke of half-time when Pope’s header from Mitch Clark’s right wing cross was impressively pushed wide of the left post by Oxley.

Vale were also on top at the start of the second half with Adam Crookes having a long range effort parried away by Oxley but John Askey’s side finally made the breakthrough in the 48th minute.

A poor throw out from Oxley led to Vale advancing down the left flank before a deep cross from Worrall was headed home at the far post by Pope for the 150th goal of his career.

In reply, a long range effort from Shrimpers midfielder Timothee Dieng was easily held by Vale goalkeeper Scott Brown before Terrell Egbri fired over from 25 yards.

But Vale stood strong and doubled their lead in the 64th minute, with Pope again heading home.

The experienced striker was picked out by a right-wing cross from Amoo and nodded a looping effort high into the top right hand corner of the net.

Blues replied by making two changes in quick succession with Ashley Nathaniel-George replacing Kyle Taylor and Jason Demetriou coming on for the injured Egbri.

A third change soon followed with Emile Acquah taking the place of Brandon Goodship but still the Shrimpers rarely looked like scoring.

Nathaniel-George momentarily threatened with a low, 20 yard shot straight at Brown before Vale hit back and Pope came within a whisker of completing a hat-trick as he smashed a 10 yard shot against the underside of the crossbar in the closing action of the game.