SOUTHEND United slumped to a 3-1 defeat at struggling Northampton Town this afternoon to heap more pressure on manager Phil Brown.

The setback – which came in Brown’s 250th game in charge of the club – was Blues’ seventh in eight games.

And it came in the Shrimpers’ first outing since the departures of Ryan Leonard and Nile Ranger.

The Cobblers – who came into the match with one win in their last 11 games - opened the scoring in the 19th minute when Shrimpers goalkeeper Mark Oxley did well to parry out a firm header from Ash Taylor.

But Harry Kyprianou’s attempted clearance from the resulting rebound struck former Shrimpers loanee John-Joe O’Toole and flew into the bottom left hand corner of the net.

However, Blues were behind for just seven minutes as they soon drew back level with Demetriou on target from the penalty spot.

The spot-kick was given after Stephen McLaughlin won a header before being clattered into by Taylor and Jason Demetriou made the most of the opportunity as he confidently stroked his shot into the left hand side of the net with Cobblers goalkeeper Matt Ingram diving in the opposite direction.

Moments later, Shrimpers winger Michael Kightly sent a low effort wide of the left post before McLaughlin fired over from long range in the opening action of the second half.

But the Cobblers soon hit back regained the lead with a penalty of their own in the 49th minute, which was slammed home by Matt Grimes.

The spot-kick was given after Kyprianou clattered into Chris Long inside the penalty area, enabling Grimes to net with a powerfully struck spot-kick which just evaded Oxley who had dived the right way.

Moments later, Regan Poole stabbed a close range effort wide of the left post after escaping the attentions of Kyprianou to meet Matt Crooks’ right wing corner.

Poole then fired another effort from a set piece off target from close range before Blues boss Phil Brown made a double change on the hour mark as Michael Timlin and Jermaine McGlashan entered the action in place of Dru Yearwood and Kightly.

The new look Shrimpers soon hit back with Demetriou slicing a long range effort wide of the right post before the Cobblers wasted a golden opportunity to make it 3-1 when O’Toole teed up Hildeberto Pereira only for the substitute to somehow hit the crossbar from eight yards with the goal gaping.

With Northampton remaining on top, a superb challenge from Michael Turner then stopped Long converting Sam Hoskins’ right wing cross before Shrimpers boss Brown made his final change in the 74th minute with Norman Wabo replacing Cox.

Shortly after the alteration, Blues midfielder Anthony Wordsworth sent a 20 yard shot inches over the crossbar before Kyprianou had another effort deflected wide for a corner.

But Northampton survived the scares and sealed their win in the 90th minute when Pereira worked his way past Timlin before teeing up former Shrimpers striker Alex Revell who sent a low shot into the bottom right hand corner of the net.