Bristol Rovers manager Mark McGhee locked his players in the dressing room for an immediate inquest into another damaging home defeat after they were beaten 3-2 by Southend.

Substitute Oliver Norburn's 88th-minute sending off for a foul on Ryan Leonard completed a miserable night for Rovers, who were booed off by their own fans.

More than an hour after the final whistle, McGhee finally emerged to say: "I was hugely disappointed with the result and particularly our first-half performance."

He added: "The 11 players we fielded were our best available and I felt I set them up to play in a positive fashion.

"A lot of the talking we have done in the dressing room was about how the players felt when we went 1-0 up. We looked set to score more but then we conceded and suddenly we looked more a group of individuals than a team. We have to investigate that."

Fabian Broghammer fired Rovers in front after just 10 minutes, breaking clear of a square Shrimpers defence and shooting home at the second attempt after Paul Smith had saved his initial effort. The visitors equalised five minutes before the break when Marc Laird's precise throughball allowed Gavin Tomlin to race clear and beat Neil Etheridge with his left foot.

Another left-footed finish from Kevan Hurst put Southend in front on the stroke of half-time and midway through the second half defender Ryan Cresswell made it 3-1, heading home a Hurst corner. David Clarkson's 86th-minute penalty after a foul on Eliot Richards proved no more than a consolation for Rovers, who then saw substitute Norburn given his marching orders moments later.

Southend boss Paul Sturrock was full of praise for goalscorer and eventual matchwinner Cresswell, who also dominated at the heart of defence.

"Ryan picked up a head injury on Saturday and it was down to him whether he played," said Sturrock. "The ball was drawn to his head like a magnet in our box so all credit to him."

He added: "We have had a dreadful time with injuries, but now we are getting somewhere near full strength and it's making a difference."