DANNY Graham’s second half header saw Southend United slip to a 1-0 defeat at table-topping Blackburn Rovers this afternoon.

The Shrimpers had stayed solid during an even opening 45 minutes at Ewood Park.

But Graham – who was making his 100th appearance for the hosts – popped up to score the only goal of the game after the break.

The victory was Blackburn’s eighth in their last nine games.

However, Tony Mowbray was forced to changed his starting line-up after just 12 minutes as dangerman Bradley Dack limped off with what appeared to be a hamstring problem and was replaced in an advanced midfield role by ex Shrimper Jack Payne.

Five minutes later, Blues registered the game’s first shot on target with Rovers goalkeeper David Raya keeping hold of Simon Cox’s flick from Michael Kightly’s left wing corner.

In reply, Rovers had shouts for a penalty waved away when Danny Graham went to ground while under pressure from John White before Craig Conway volleyed over from a narrow angle.

However, the Shrimpers soon hit back with Jason Demetriou firing over after bursting into the right hand side of the penalty area.

Rovers soon threatened next with Ben Coker doing well to put a dangerous left wing cross from Payne wide of his own goal and, at the start of the second half, Graham headed straight at Oxley from close range.

Moments later, Graham also saw a low 12 yard shot smothered by Oxley but, with 59 minutes on the clock, the striker final found the back of the net for the 16th time this season.

The former Swansea forward was picked out by Conway’s right wing cross and netted with a simple close range header.

Blues boss Chris Powell responded by bringing Theo Robinson on in place of Dru Yearwood in a switch saw his side switch from 4-5-1 to a more attacking 4-4-2 formation.

Robinson was immediately involved after his introduction as his swerving shot was held by Raya before Powell also brought on Shayon Harrison and Marc-Antoine Fortune in quick succession.

The new look attack threatened late on with Cox appearing to brought down inside the penalty area.

But referee Woolmer controversially waved played on before the hosts somehow survived a last gasp goalmouth scramble with Raya stopping Charlie Mulgrew scoring an own goal before Cox's follow up effort was blocked by Demetriou.

The period of play summed up a frustrating afternoon for the Shrimpers who have still not netted in the second half of an away game since winning 4-2 at Fleetwood Town in September.