Leeds United started well with two chances on target, in the first two minutes, by Neil Kilkenny and David Prutton. But stand in goalkeeper David Lucas was called into action in the 4th minute to block a shot from Southend's Mark Gower.
A shot by Andy Hughes on 23 minutes was the only other real chance United had in the first half. Play was end to end but Southend created more chances and Leeds, at times, appeared unsure and unsafe at the back.
Then on 40 minutes a foul by Jermaine Beckford earned a free kick for the Blues. It was taken by Steven Hammell from 25 yards out, blocked by Lucas but it fell to Southend's Lee Barnard who tipped the ball home from six yards, 0-1.
Southend came out for the second half with even more confidence and looked the stronger side.
Leeds first and only really good chance came on the hour when Tresor Kandol missed a sitter from six yards.
Stand in coach Gwyn Williams made his first substitution on 67 minutes when he brought on Seb Carole to replace Peter Sweeney.
Prutton was replaced by Tore Andre Flo on 80 minutes and Bradley Johnson came on for Kilkenny with 7 minutes to go.
Leeds did little more following Kandol's miss and only good saves by Lucas prevented further punishment by the Blues.
We can only hope that Gary McAllister will grab this lacklustre team by the scruff of the neck and turn things around, starting at home to Tranmere on Saturday.
Southend United 1 Leeds United 0