FUMING Bradford City chief Michael Collins branded his side’s performance as “unacceptable” after losing at Southend.
The Bantams were sucker-punched by Tom Hopper and Simon Cox in four second-half minutes to fall to defeat at Roots Hall.
After a third defeat in a week, Collins reflected: “I’m not one of those who will come out and slate the players publicly. But they were told in no uncertain terms that it was unacceptable.
“I’m not going to defend the performance. They wanted it more than us.
“There was more desire from them, there was more commitment from them. That hurts me and it’s a difficult one to take.”
The Bantams were on the back foot and were lucky to go in level at the break.
Goalkeeper Richard O’Donnell made a good early save to keep out Ben Coker’s free-kick.
The visitors should have been behind when Stephen McLaughlin inexplicably fired wide.
Hopper headed wide from McLaughlin’s cross before Sam Mantom hit a powerful strike just over.
City were broken down seven minutes after the restart as Hopper headed home from Michael Kightly’s cross. The lead was doubled four minutes later as O’Donnell was beaten by another header, this time from Cox.
Collins rang the chances to try and get something out of the game but it was the hosts who went close with O’Donnell catching Cox’s effort via the bar.
Eoin Doyle had a strike disallowed for offside with Jordan Gibson also missed the target.
Southend United: Oxley, Demetriou, White, Turner, Coker, McLaughlin, Dieng, Mantom, Kightly (Hendrie, 90), Cox (Robinson, 76), Hopper (Klass 90). Unused substitutes: Bishop, Bwomono, McCoulsky, Kyprianou.
Bradford City: O’Donnell, Chicksen, McGowan, O’Connor, Riley (Mellor, 45), Akpan (Miller, 63), Wright, Colville, Payne (Gibson, 57), Scannell, Doyle. Unused substitutes: Wilson, Knight-Percival, Wood, Hudson.
Referee: T Nield (West Yorks).