SOUTHEND United slumped to a dire 3-1 defeat at Halifax Town this afternoon.

The Shrimpers had been hoping to build on last weekend’s 2-2 draw with high-flying Wrexham.

But Blues produced a pitiful performance as their winless streak stretched to a fourth game.

Phil Brown’s side momentarily threatened early on with a Jack Bridge cross causing panic in the Halifax box as it just evaded a sliding Rhys Murphy at the far post before the hosts hit back with Jesse Debrah heading over a dangerous right wing corner from Martin Woods.

Moments later, Blues midfielder Harry Phillips fired over from long range before another dangerous left wing cross from Bridge went across the face of goal.

After surviving the scares, Halifax were forced into making an early change when a poor challenge from Phillips led to Jay Benn limping off.

He was replaced by Tyrell Warren and Town threatened from the immediate free-kick as Woods’ effort attempted to catch out Seaden only to hit Murphy at the near posts.

The hosts screamed for a penalty, appealing for handball, but referee Andrew Miller awarded just a corner.

Murphy was soon involved at the other end of the field as he fired wide of the left post from 20 yards but Halifax hit back and opened the scoring in the 39th minute, with Jordan Slew on target.

The Town striker was picked out by a brilliant left wing cross from Tom Bradbury and got the wrong side of Nathan Ralph before sending a low volley into the bottom left hand corner of the net.

Halifax were immediately on top again after the break and doubled their lead in the 47th minute when Slew’s left wing cross picked out Billy Waters who sent a simple header high into the top right hand corner.

Blues boss Brown reacted by a triple substitution which saw Shaun Hobson, Will Atkinson and Terrell Egbri all entering the action with John White, Harry Phillips and Nathan Ferguson all making way.

The Shrimpers switched to a 4-4-2 formation after the changes but the home-side remained on top with Waters teeing up Matty Warburton only for the striker to completely mis his kick when well presented with a clear chance in front of goal.

Halifax continued to threaten and extended their lead in the 73rd minute when Harvey Gilmour’s right wing free-kick was headed into the bottom left hand corner of the net by Niall Maher.

Blues replied and netted a late consolation two minutes from time with Murphy tapping home a fine left wing cross from Bridge.