TRANMERE Rovers are currently being managed on a caretaker basis by their physiotherapist Les Parry.

But, after tonight's clash at Prenton Park, it was Southend United needing assistance for their pain as the Shrimpers suffered a a 2-0 defeat against their struggling hosts.

Tranmere had gone into the game bottom of the League One table, having suffered four successive league defeats but their miserable mood was lifted by beating Blues.

It took Rovers just 10 minutes to open the scoring following a well worked corner on the left hand side.

The flag kick was worked back to Chris Shuker before being delivered to the back post where Terry Gornell headed back across goal for captain Ian Goodison to easily nod into the roof of the net from six yards.

Shell shocked Southend almost levelled five minutes later from a corner of their own, taken by Simon Francis, but Sean Morrison's downward header was cleared just in front of goal by Shaleum Logan before Lee Barnard volleyed the subsequent rebound over the crossbar from 12 yards.

Rovers hit back with John Welsh firing just over the crossbar from the edge of the penalty area and, in the 29th minute, the hosts were screaming for a penalty when Francis Laurent clattered into former Blues trialist Zoumana Bakayogo inside the area but Rovers' appeals were waved away by referee David Webb.

Both sides then struggled to create goalscoring chances, especially from open play, but just before the half-time break, Laurent headed over a left wing corner from Francis.

At the start of the second period it was Tranmere on top though with Chris Curran unleashing a low 20 yard shot which was tipped wide of the left post by Blues goalkeeper Steve Mildenhall.

Moments later, Bakayogo selfishly fired past the same upright from a narrow angle but, with 53 minutes on the clock, the Shrimpers replied with Laurent shooting wide of the right post after being teed up by Dougie Freedman.

Southend came even closer to equalising in the 69th minute when new boy Scott Malone delivered a right wing corner which picked out skipper Adam Barrett but his effort was smartly saved by Rovers goalkeeper Luke Daniels.

Blues boss Steve Tilson tried to get his side back into the game by bringing on Damian Scannell in place of Freedman but Tranmere doubled their lead in the 72nd minute when a right wing cross from Logan rebounded back off Francis into the path of Gornell who made no mistake with a neat close range finish.

Southend almost halved Tranmere's lead when Alan McCormack volleyed just wide of the left post from 20 yards and, in the 78th minute, Morrison headed over an inswinging Francis free-kick.

In reply, Mildenhall then did well to deny both Gornell and Ian Thomas-Moore but by then the damage was done as the Shrimpers sunk to their fifth successive away defeat.

Southend United (4-4-2) Mildenhall, Francis, Morrison, Barrett, Malone, Laurent (Walker 77), McCormack, Christophe, Moussa, Barnard, Freedman (Scannell 70)

Subs not used: O'Keefe, Asante and Bentley

Tranmere Rovers (4-3-3): Daniels, Logan, Goodison (McLaren 64), Broomes, Bakayogo, Edds, Welsh, Taylor, Gornell, Shuker (Thomas-Moore 75), Curran

Subs not used: Cresswell, Collister, Bain, Ricketts and Barnett