Southend United suffered a 2-1 defeat against Championship side Millwall at Roots Hall this evening.
Two first half goals in quick succession from Chris Taylor and Danny N’Guessan gave the Lions the perfect start before former Millwall striker Neil Harris missed from the penalty spot for the Blues.
Southend did pull a goal back in the second half through John Spicer’s excellent header as the home side looked to find a way back into the game.
Millwall had the first chance of the game in the opening minute after James Henry’s corner kick was toe poked wide by Shane Lowry from six yards out.
Southend struggled to create any clear cut chances with the away side pressing the Blues defence and with 21 minutes gone Taylor made the breakthrough for Millwall with a header at the back post.
Jack Smith played a clever reverse pass to Henry inside the penalty area who smartly chipped the ball to the back post, meeting the head of Taylor as he towered over the helpless Sean Clohessy finding the top corner of the net.
Two minutes later Millwall extended their lead with an excellent goal from lone striker N’Guessan who advanced from just inside the Blues half.
The burly forward ran at the defence cutting in between Ryan Cresswell and Anthony Straker before curling the ball into the bottom corner past Tony Warner in goal.
The game burst into life and Southend had a chance to pull their way back into the game after Karleigh Osbourne was adjudged to have handled in the area from Ryan Hall’s free-kick.
Former Millwall striker Harris stepped up to take the penalty from 12 yards, only to see Maik Taylor dive to his left and palm the spot kick away.
Millwall went into the break with a two goal lead as Blues failed to create any chances from open play.
The first shot of the second half came from the dangerous Henry who cut in from the right and fired a left footed drive at goal which Warner was equal to holding onto the ball.
Blues hit back in the 59th minute with substitute Chris Barker heading narrowly wide from six yards out after connecting to Hall’s lofted free-kick.
Southend found the net in the 63rd minute after Harris played a superb cross into the path of Spicer who arrowed his header past Taylor from eight yards out leaving the keeper rooted to the spot.
Blues fought their way back into the game and nearly found an equaliser through an unlikely source of left back Straker after his left wing cross looped over Taylor in goal and missed the target by a matter of inches.
Mark Phillips will wonder how he didn’t find the back of the net in the 76th minute after his powerful header from Hall’s corner was somehow saved by Taylor from point blank range keeping the Lions in the lead.
Hall fired a swerving effort at goal from 25 yards out after finding space which dipped just in front of Taylor who held on to the ball well.
With a minute to play Blues thought they were level only to be denied by the offside flag as Harris wheeled away to celebrate.
Harris nodded in Hall’s cross come shot which bounced over the head of Taylor giving Harris the easy task of tucking it away only to see the linesman behind him raise his flag.
Millwall managed to hold on to the win, with Southend now preparing for Friday’s friendly against a Tottenham Hotspur XI at Roots Hall.
Southend: Warner, Clohessy, Phillips, Cresswell (Barker 35), Straker, Hurst (Ferdinand 63), Leonard (Donnelly 77), Spicer, Hall, Harris, Benyon (Eastwood 63).
Subs not used: Bentley, Prosser, Martin, Woodyard, Brogan.