Dennis Wise's presence had no immediate effect on Leeds United as Southend's 18-year-old striker, Gary Hooper, scored his first goals in senior football on only his second start to deepen the misery at Elland Road last night and steal the spotlight away from the new Leeds manager.
Two goals from Hooper and a penalty by Steven Hammell put Southend in the fourth round for the first time in their history, with the Leeds players booed off again after conceding 18 goals in their last five games.
Wise was paraded on the pitch but, if he had any illusions about the job he faces, they were swept away by Leeds' fifth defeat in a row and the words of the coach, Dave Geddis, who said: "It can't get any worse."
Southend merited their victory against a side who were top of the Premiership five years ago this week and it could have been more with their manager, Steve Tilson, a lifelong Leeds fan, claiming: "I thought we looked like the home side in the first half. We didn't know what to expect with the new manager - players can be lifted - but we played very well."
Southend were ahead in the 34th minute when Simon Francis was brought down in the area by Stephen Crainey with Hammell stepping up to make no mistake from the spot. Three minutes later they were two in front after two dreadful Leeds mistakes, the first from Matthew Kilgallon, who failed to sweep away a Francis cross. It fell for Hooper but his shot looked covered by Tony Warner until he let it slip under him.
Leeds pulled one back seconds before the break when a David Healy cross was turned in by Ian Moore but the threat from Hooper was constant and he struck again in the 64th minute, pouncing from close-in.
Geddis added: "There is a new manager and all the staff will get behind him but the players have to start performing and taking responsibility. They are better than this."
Wise was welcomed by a 10,000-plus crowd despite his connection with the much-despised Chelsea and with the chairman, Ken Bates, saying: "I'm aware he is not everyone's cup of tea but it is not a popularity contest, it's a question of the right man to resolve a serious situation. He was the unanimous choice, he has captained a team of world-class players, he is a winner who will get 110 per cent, a tactician and a bad loser who will wind people up and get them going."
Wise starts on Saturday with a home game - against Southend, and Tilson admitted: "There will be a bigger crowd and I think it will be different."
Leeds United (4-4-2): Warner; Kelly, Butler, Kilgallon, Crainey (Cresswell, 69); Douglas, Westlake, Richardson, Lewis (Bayly, 69); Moore (Blake, 87), Healy. Substitutes not used: Sullivan (gk), Carole.
Southend United (4-4-2): Flahavan; Francis, Sodje, Barrett, Hammell; Hunt, Gower, Clarke, Maher; Paynter (Guttridge, 21), Hooper (Wilson, 89). Substitutes not used: Collis (gk), Smith, Moussa.
Referee: M Dean (Wirral).Reuse content