A game of two contrasting halves ended with Southend United winning 3-2 in a pre-season at Great Wakering Rovers tonight.All five goals came during an eventful opening 45 minutes as Blues twice came from behind to take the lead.
But there was far less excitement in the second period.
Wakering, who will be in the Essex Senior League during the forthcoming season, more than held their own against Paul Sturrock's side.
And it was the hard-working home-side who opened the scoring after just six minutes when Billy Johnson curled an impressive 25 yard free-kick past Blues goalkeeper Daniel Bentley.
Southend immediately replied with Gavin Tomlin heading a right wing cross from Sean Clohessy against the crossbar before the former Gillingham striker also struck the right post with a deflected close range shot.
However Blues, who had former Doncaster Rovers midfielder John Spicer playing as a trialist in the first half, eventually levelled in the 21st minute when a right wing corner from Ryan Hall was headed in to the roof of the net by Luke Prosser.
Clohessy then had a powerful shot tipped around the left post by Wakering goalkeeper Louis Godwin-Green before the hosts regained the lead in the 35th minute, with Luca Frankis on target.
The striker, whose brother Gianni is a sprint hurdler for Great Britain, broke free of the Blues' defence before firing a low, 12 yard shot in to the bottom left hand corner of the net.
The fine finish seemed to spark Southend back in to life and within six minutes they were back level.
New left back Anthony Straker was the provider as he stormed down the left hand side before delivering a cross which Elliot Benyon converted with a close range header after his initial effort had been smartly saved by Godwin-Green.
The Wakering shot-stopper was then beaten for a third time just two minutes before the break when Benyon sprung the offside trap and teed up Tomlin who tapped the ball in to an unguarded goal.
Ryan Cresswell then headed over another corner from Hall before a heavily changed Southend side emerged for the second half.
Bentley, in goal, was the only player to remain from the first half and Blues also had trialist midfielders Yoann Folley and New Zealand international Jeremy Christie in their new look line-up.
But, after Freddy Eastwood had somehow fired well of the target from four yards, there was little to excite the crowd at Burroughs Park until Kevan Hurst had an 84th minute kept out by Wakering's substitute shot-stopper George Watts.
David Martin then saw a fizzing long range shot fly just past the left post in the closing action but the trio of first half goals were ultimately enough to see Southend triumph.
Southend United First Half: Bentley, Clohessy, Cresswell, Prosser, Straker, Hall, Spicer, Ferdinand, Tomlin, Harris, Benyon.
Southend United Second Half: Bentley, Woodyard, Phillips, Barker, Leonard, Paxman, Folly (Agyakwa 72), Christie, Martin, Hurst, Eastwood.