SOUTHEND United’s desperately dire start to the season plunged to new depths of despair with a 3-0 defeat at Bradford City tonight.

Bottom of the table Blues conceded three times during a torrid first half showing.

And Mark Molesley’s side have now gone 14 games without a win this term.

Bradford opened the scoring after just five minutes when Callum Cooke was allowed time and space inside the Shrimpers’ penalty area before sending a low, left footed shot into the bottom left hand corner of the net from 14 yards.

City then came close to doubling their lead in the 20th minute when Harry Pritchard’s header form Billy Clarke’s right wing free-kick was smartly smothered by Southend goalkeeper Mark Oxley.

But Blues soon replied with James Olayinka brilliantly bursting into the box from just inside the Bradford half, only to send his low left foot shot wide of the right post.

Shortly after the near miss, the Shrimpers swapped from 3-4-3 to 4-5-1 and, moments after the change in system, Olayinka’s effort from a narrow angle was held by Bradford goalkeeper Richard O’Donnell.

However, Bradford survived the scare and doubled their lead with a well-worked goal in the 33rd minute as a neatly constructed counter attack resulted in Clayton Donaldson rolling a pass into the path of Elliott Watt who drilled home a low shot from 20 yards.

The Bantams remained on top and piled more misery on the Shrimpers two minutes before the break when Clarke’s right wing free-kick found Harry Pritchard who headed home from close range.

A shell-shocked Shrimpers replied with Shaun Hobson heading Tom Clifford’s right wing corner wide of the left post before Brandon Goodship fired over from long range in the opening action of the first half.

Timothee Dieng then had a long range shot parried away by O’Donnell against his former side before the hosts hit back with Donaldson beating the offside trap, only to see his goalbound effort blocked by the advancing Oxley.

However, Blues did see more of the ball in the second half.

And they wasted a fine chance of their own in the 65th minute when Clifford’s corner was headed back across by Harry Lennon but Dieng could only nod his effort over the crossbar from six yards.

Emile Acquah’s header from Jason Demetriou’s free-kick was then easily held by O’Donnell before the home-side hit back with Pritchard volleying wide of the right post when well placed.

Despite the score-line, Blues waited until the 85th minute to make their first alterations of the evening with Terrell Egbri taking the place of Goodship and Matt Rush coming on for Ashley Nathaniel-George.

A third change followed in stoppage time with Kazaiah Sterling replacing Emile Acquah in attack but by then the game was completely over as a contest as the Shrimpers suffered a sixth defeat in succession.