Blues were beaten 2-0 in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Final against Crewe Alexandra at Wembley Stadium.
Goals in either half from Luke Murphy and Max Clayton was enough for the League 1 side to win for the second time in a year at the National Stadium.
Phil Brown made two changes from the draw with Fleetwood as Chris Barker and Luke Prosser both returned from injury to start the game.
That meant Mark Phillips and Freddy Eastwood dropped to the bench while Anthony Straker started on the left side of midfield.
It was Crewe who began the game on the front foot and almost went ahead inside the opening two minutes. Max Clayton found room in the box with a clever run but saw his shot saved well by the legs of Paul Smith.
Smith though could do nothing about Crewe’s opener which came with five minutes gone. Byron Moore’s corner was swept to the edge of the box for Crewe skipper Murphy to curl the ball into the top corner.
Blues had struggled in the opening stages, but started to find their feet with 20 minutes on the clock. Our first chance of the game came when Bilel Mohsni headed Chris Barker’s corner wide of the goal.
Corners were providing both teams with some joy, and from Blues’ next one, Ryan Cresswell saw his header saved by Steve Phillips.
Britt Assombalonga’s pace was causing the Crewe defence problems and he thought he’d won a penalty when he went down under a challenge in the box. Referee Nigel Miller was unmoved though.
It was from a corner again that Blues created their next chance. Barker’s in swinging ball in from the left was met by the head of Tamika Mkandawire who headed just over the bar.
The second-half got off to the worst possible start for Blues. Biel was robbed of the ball in the middle of the park and within two passes, Moore’s cutback had found Clayton who tapped the ball into an empty net.
Brown introduced Barry Corr and Ben Reeves just before the hour mark in place of Barker and Mohsni.
But it was Crewe who almost made it 3-0 as Clayton, looking for his second of the afternoon, cut in from the left and curled one just over Smith’s goal.
The arrival of Corr and Reeves gave Blues a lift, and the big striker went close twice in a minute. First his volley was blocked and turned before for a corner, before from the resulting ball in, Matt Tootle cleared Corr’s header off the line.
There were half chances for Blues late on but they were unable to find the back of the net as Crewe held on, and could have made it more convincing had sub Ajay Leitch-Smith not hit the bar.
Full time: Crewe 2-0 Southend United