The Bees fell to a narrow defeat against Southend United – losing 2-1 at Roots Hall in the Vanarama National League.
The hosts started quickly and opened the scoring in the 4th minute when Jason Demetriou drove into the box and fired towards the bottom corner.
Aston Oxborough got down to make the save but parried the ball into Matthew Dennis’ path who tapped home.
Kevin Maher’s side doubled their lead just before the half hour mark after Will Atkinson played the ball out to Tom Clifford just inside the box.
The Shrimpers’ No. 12 cut back inside and shot towards the near post to force Oxborough to claw it away to Dennis who swept it in from close-range to score his second of the night.
The Bees pulled one back in the 37th minute after Adam Marriott’s run into the box was found by a clever through ball.
The 30-year-old took the ball in his strike and emphatically finished it off into the bottom left corner to give Steve Arnold no chance.
Daniel Powell almost helped to put his side back on level terms when his cross towards the front post was met by Ephron Mason-Clark, whose stretching header went narrowly wide of the target.
Southend responded through Tom Clifford who picked up the ball on the halfway line and headed straight into the final third before seeing his strike fizz along the surface and straight back off the post.
With the hosts protecting their one-goal advantage, the Bees came out for the second-half strongly but were unable to find an equaliser as Mason-Clark’s shot and Wes Fonguck’s inswinging corner came to nothing.
In the 68th minute Callum Powell tried his luck after he twisted and turned with his back to goal before eventually finding space to fire over the crossbar.
The Shrimpers went close to adding a third when Kacper Lopata took aim to force Oxborough into a diving save from the edge of the box after pouncing on a loose ball.
The Bees kept pushing and almost drew level late on as Josh Payne’s dangerous deliveries caused trouble for Southend, but they were able to clear their lines and secure the three points.
Southend: Steve Arnold, Nathan Ralph, Shaun Hobson, Sam Dalby, Callum Powell (James Dunne 83′), Tom Clifford, Will Atkinson, Kacper Lopata, Jason Demetriou ©, Matthew Dennis, Noor Husin. Subs (not used): Collin Andeng Ndi, Jack Wood, Leon Davies, Ollie Kensdale.
Goals: Dennis (4’, 27’).
Bees: Aston Oxborough, Jordan Thomas, Teddy Howe, Ben Richards-Everton, Rob Hall © (Mason Bloomfield 62’), Daniel Powell, Ephron Mason-Clark (Kian Flanagan 73’), Adam Marriott, Reiss Greenidge, Wes Fonguck (Josh Payne 84’), Sam Woods. Subs (not used): Jake Askew, Serhat Tasdemir.
Goals: Marriott (37’).
Referee: Sunny Gill.
Attendance: 6,036 (145 away).