Stephen Brogan bagged two goals in three second half minutes to fire Southend United to a 2-0 triumph at Braintree Town this afternoon.The 24-year-old winger, who is on trial with Blues from Stalybridge Celtic, fired home a brilliant brace at the Amlin Stadium.
And his second half strikes were enough to secure victory for Paul Sturrock’s side.
Southend were initially on top against their National Conference hosts and, with five minutes on the clock, Kevan Hurst’s 12 yard shot was smothered by Braintree goalkeeper Nathan McDonald.
Moments later, Hurst had another golden chance to score when trialist John Spicer picked him out at the back post with a deep right wing cross.
However, Hurst could only stab a tentative six yard volley well wide of the target when he should have done better.
Having survived the scares, Braintree then also had a great chance to open the scoring in the 25th minute when Sean Marks raced clean through on goal after charging down an attempted clearance from Ryan Cresswell.
But the striker opted to try and chip Blues’ trialist goalkeeper Mark Brown and only succeeded in chipping the ball in to the shot-stopper’s gloves.
Sixty seconds later, Town’s Daniel Sparkes also broke free of the Southend defence but was unable to find a way past Brown who did well to block the winger’s low shot with his legs.
That ensured the game remained goalless at the break and Blues made a trio of substitutions at during the interval with Mark Phillips entering the action alongside trialist midfielders Anton Peterlin and Brogan.
At the start of the second period, Ryan Hall fired a low 20 yard shot straight at former Southend trainee McDonald but Braintree immediately hit back with Josh Dawkin slashing a shot wide of the right post from close range.
His strike partner Joe Yoffe, who played for Blues against West Ham last weekend, then had a low shot smothered by Brown who then did well to tip a powerful shot from Dawkin around the left post.
Southend boss Paul Sturrock responded by making five changes on the hour mark with Luke Prosser, Elliot Benyon, Chris Barker, David Martin and Alex Woodyard all entering the action.
And, three minutes after the changes, Blues broke the deadlock as Brogan fired a well struck right foot shot in to the bottom right hand corner of the net from the edge of the penalty area.
Two minutes later, Brogan was at it again when he brilliantly chipped the ball over the advancing McDonald from close range.
The hat-trick hunting Brogan then headed a deep right wing cross from Martin over the crossbar in the closing action of the game.
Southend: Brown, Leonard (Woodyard 60), Mohamed (Phillips 46), Cresswell (Barker 60), Straker (Prosser 60), Hall (Martin 60), Folly (Peterlin 46), Spicer, Hurst (Brogan 46), Eastwood (Benyon 60), Robertson.