Southend United will go into their Sky Bet League 2 Play-off second leg at Roots Hall a goal behind following a 1-0 defeat to Burton Albion at the Pirelli Stadium.
Blues were unable to break down the Brewers, who played the final 30 minutes with just ten men, but will be confident they can turn it around in the second-leg.
The only goal of the game came just before half-time, as Adam McGurk raced through after some neat interplay, and dinked the ball over Daniel Bentley.
Burton were reduced to ten-men just before the hour mark as Ian Sharps was shown a second yellow for hauling down Ryan Leonard.
But the hosts defended resiliently to give themselves a slender advantage ahead of the second-leg on Saturday 17th May.
Unsurprisingly, Phil Brown named the same starting XI as he did in the final day win against the Brewers, with Jacob Murphy keeping his place on the right-wing.
The hosts made a bright start to the game, but it was Blues who created the first real opening as Michael Timlin crossed for Barry Corr. The striker was unable to get enough conviction in his header, and it drifted wide.
Zeli Ismail, who looked to be the Brewers’ dangerman, had their first chance of the game, but Ben Coker blocked his volley at the back post. The defender would moments later be booked for a late tackle on Ismail.
Corr would then have a great chance for Blues from a free-kick 20-yards out but the striker curled over. He then turned provider to tee up Will Atkinson, but the midfielder’s half-volley was well saved by Dean Lyness.
Burton hadn’t troubled Bentley in Blues’ goal until just before the 40th minute. Adam McGurk cut in from the left and struck a low shot from just outside the box that Blues’ goalkeeper kept out well.
McGurk was not to be denied however, as on the stroke of half-time he opened the scoring. The striker played a neat one-two with Billy Kee and was able to lift the ball over the onrushing Daniel Bentley.
Blues made a bright start to the second-half, and as they pushed forward on the counter twice, Sharps halted proceedings to earn a red card.
On the first occasion, he handballed Leonard’s ball through to Atkinson, before hauling down Leonard moments later.
Blues went to 4-4-2 as they looked to make the most of the man advantage, but they were unable to find a way through.
The best chance came from John Egan, but his volley was superbly kept out, to leave Blues trailing by a single goal ahead of the second leg.
Blues: Bentley; White (Eastwood), Coker, Egan, Sokolik; Atkinson, Timlin, Leonard; Hurst, Corr (Barnard), Murphy (Straker).
Subs: P. Smith, Prosser, Laird, Gomis