Southend United suffered a 2-1 defeat to Brentford in the FA Cup third round at Griffin Park this evening to end hopes of a tie against Chelsea in round four, despite the heroics of Paul Smith.
Paul Hayes’ first half strike gave the home side the lead at half time after the League One side were halted by a string of fine saves from Smith.
The keeper kept up his heroics in the second half saving Harry Forrester’s penalty before Barry Corr drew Southend level with a header.
The home side were not behind for long with Clayton Donaldson seeing his deflected effort find the back of the net and send Brentford into the fourth round.
With less than a minute played Blues had the first chance of the game through Anthony Straker who chested the ball down before firing a left footed volley at goal which was comfortably saved by Simon Moore in the Brentford goal.
The home side responded in the eighth minute with Forrester picking up a loose ball before bearing down on goal only to scuff his effort wide from 20 yards.
The tricky midfielder came even closer in the 14th minute with a rasping strike on the bounce which cannoned off the top of Smith’s crossbar and away to safety from 30 yards out.
The Bees piled on the pressure and in particular Forrester who tested Smith with a low drive which looked destined for the bottom corner before the Southend keeper tipped the ball around the post.
The Blues keeper pulled off a tremendous save in the 19th minute clawing away Donaldson side footed volley inside the six yard box from Lee Hodson’s cross.
The home side’s persistence paid off in the 26th minute with Hayes giving the League One side the lead from inside the six yard box.
Hodson’s chipped cross in the box found the unmarked striker at the back post who simply prodded the ball past the helpless Smith in goal.
Another save from Smith kept the scores the same with the lively Forrester advancing from his own half down the left wing before cutting in and seeing his effort well saved by Smith tipping the ball over the bar.
Southend had an excellent chance to equalise in the 33rd minute after Straker’s header was tipped onto the underside of the bar by Moore before somehow hitting the rebound wide from a matter of three yards.
Brentford nearly made Blues pay for that miss with Donaldson nicking the ball off Ryan Creswell before cutting in and seeing his shot once again excellently saved by Smith who got down low to his left to tip the ball wide.
Blues came out strong in the second half and were inches away from finding the equaliser in the 49th minute after Gavin Tomlin’s cross found Straker who teed up Michael Timlin from 10 yards out as the midfielder dragged his effort just wide of the goal.
Brentford had an excellent chance to double their lead from the spot in the 55th minute after Mark Phillips was adjudged to have brought Donaldson down in the box.
Forrester stepped up from 12 yards only to be denied by a tremendous penalty save from Smith as the keeper palmed the powerful strike wide as it looked destined for the top corner of the net.
The Blues keeper was having the game of his life for Southend saving Jonathon Douglas’ low strike with his feet in the 63rd minute before Phillips blocked Forrester’s effort off the line.
Smith’s heroics kept the away side in the game and Blues pulled back level in the 69th minute through Barry Corr’s header.
Substitute Leonard, who had been on the field for a matter of minutes played an excellent cross into the Bees’ box which Corr nodded into the corner past Moore sending the away fans into raptures.
Brentford took the lead once again in the 76th minute through Donaldson’s deflected effort at an angle from 12 yards.
The striker had acres of space on the right before firing a low effort at goal which took a deflection off Luke Prosser sending Smith the wrong way and the ball into the back of the net.
Blues were unable to find an equaliser as League One Brentford secured a tie against Chelsea in the fourth round of the FA Cup at Griffin Park.