Southend had to settle for a point as they were pegged back by Plymouth Argyle at Roots Hall with Ryan Edwards’ header cancelling out a Sonny Bradley own goal.
After last weekend’s thumping at Rotherham, Blues started off brightly on their return to Essex and took the lead in the sixth minute when Sonny Bradley headed past his own goalkeeper.
Southend were much the better side in the first half, but they couldn’t capitalise on their dominance and a much-improved Argyle performance in the second half produced an equaliser.
Ryan Edwards rose highest to meet a floated corner from Graham Carey to make it 1-1 right on the hour mark and that was how it remained despite a flurry of chances for either side late on.
Brown will likely be disappointed with only coming away with a point from Roots Hall, but he saw a big improvement in his side’s play following last weekend’s humbling at Rotherham.
In a surprise move, Brown named an unchanged line-up as Plymouth Argyle visited Roots Hall with the newly-promoted side coming in off the back of a win against Charlton last weekend.
With Brown no doubt looking for a reaction after last week, Blues started the game brightly with Marc-Antoine Fortune’s deflected cross being headed over by Simon Cox five minutes in.
A minute later and Southend’s bright start was rewarded as they broke the deadlock, but they required a helping hand from Argyle’s Sonny Bradley as the defender put into his own net.
Jermaine McGlashan’s persistence saw him charge down Gary Sawyer’s clearance before the winger’s cross was headed past the helpless Luke McCormick by Bradley to give Blues the lead.
Following the goal, Southend continued to mount pressure on Argyle and boss Derek Adams was apoplectic with his side’s defending as Blues almost stole in and grabbed a second goal.
Plymouth-born Ryan Leonard worked his way into the penalty area, choosing to tee up Simon Cox rather than shoot, with Blues’ number 10 unable to tap the ball home at full stretch.
Argyle had been second-best for much of the half but they came close to levelling on the half hour mark when Nathan Blissett’s low drive forced a smart from Mark Oxley down to his right.
Southend though ended the half strongly with a string of corners, but their search for a second goal before the break was in vain as Cox and Michael Timlin missed good opportunities.
Adams made a double change at half time with Yann Songo’o and Lionel Ainsworth coming on, but it was their front-man Blissett who looked the Pilgrims’ biggest threat at Roots Hall.
The big number 13 had one effort saved by Oxley in the first half and he forced another good stop out of Southend’s ‘keeper as his low drive was smartly saved by the knee of Oxley early on.
Argyle had come out much improved in the second half and Blissett was causing Blues problems at the back, latching on to an error by Anton Ferdinand before his layoff was hacked cleared by Timlin.
An equaliser was looking more and more likely for Argyle and it came just after the hour mark when Graham Carey’s floated corner found the leap of Ryan Edwards who headed home.
Argyle deserved to be level after their second half performance and the goal brought about a change in personnel for Blues as Theo Robinson was brought on for Cox.
And the former Lincoln City striker almost made an immediate impact as he was found inside the area by Fortune, only for his shot on the turn to be blocked by Antoni Sarcevic.
Frustration was beginning to set in for Southend as they continued their search for a winner with Brown screaming from the touchline with every misplaced pass.
Michael Kightly had a great chance to snatch all three points in the final 10-minutes as he linked well with Jason Demetriou, finding space in the box but failing to beat McCormick.
Blues then had Oxley to thank for ensuring the scores stayed level as he produced a brilliant one-handed save late on to deny Carey’s goal-bound effort.
Southend ended the half with a flurry and had a couple of brilliant opportunities to snatch all three points with both Robinson and Kightly going close to grabbing the win.
The first came when Robinson broke clear and only some last ditch defending from McCormick and others stopped the striker from scoring into an empty net.
And as three minutes of injury time were shown Kightly had another glorious chance to win it on the counter attack only for a brilliant recovery tackle from Carey ensured the points were shared.
Blues XI: Oxley, Hendrie, Ferdinand (C), Kightly, Timlin, Fortune, Cox (Robinson 66’), McGlashan (McLaughlin 83’), Leonard, Demetriou, White. Subs Not Used: Smith, Ba, Yearwood, Klass, Bwomono
Plymouth XI: McCormick (C), Miller, Sawyer, Edwards, Sarcevic, Carey, Blissett, Jervis, Bradley, Grant (Ainsworth 46’), Fox (Songo’o 46’). Subs Not Used: Te Loeke, Lameiras, Taylor-Sinclair, Wylde, Fletcher
Referee: Dean Whitehouse
Assistants: Stephen Finch & Graham Kane
Fourth Official: Leigh Crowhurst
Southend United: Sonny Bradley O.G. 6’
Plymouth Argyle: Ryan Edwards 62’
Southend United: Michael Timlin 89’
Plymouth Argyle: David Fox 23’, Gary Sawyer 64’