SOUTHEND United's Essex rivals Colchester have sacked head coach Steve Ball following tonight's 2-1 defeat against Exeter City.

The U's have gone 13 games without a win and sit nine points clear of the drop zone.

Colchester owner and Chairman Robbie Cowling said: "Following the game tonight and a discussion I had with Steve, it was decided that the best way forward was for him to leave his position as head coach."

"Steve has been with the club in different capacities for a long time and I would like it placed on record our thanks to him for his hard work and dedication."