Southend United manager Phil Brown felt his side did everything they could to win their Capital One Cup tie against Walsall.Blues went down 2-1 to Dean Smith’s side and Brown was left to rue a lack of cutting edge from his team.
But Brown felt there were positives to take from the performance against a full-strength Walsall side.
He said: “I’m disappointed, not because we’ve lost the game, but because I feel we’ve been dealt a little bit of a bad hand.
“We asked the players to go out there and give it everything and that’s what they did. They couldn’t have done anymore really in terms of effort.
“Walsall had that cutting edge in the final third, which showed for their two goals, that we were maybe lacking over the course of the game.
“We created lots of chances and the front four caused them all sorts of problems but we need to be a bit more ruthless in the final third.
“We made a number of changes to the side and the players rose to the challenge of playing against a very good League 1 side.
“But I have to say the best team lost the game, so that’s disappointing for us.”
Brown was impressed with the performance of youngster Jack Payne, and Ryan Leonard’s stunning goal to draw Blues level.
He added: “Jack was a constant thorn in their side. I was going to bring him off with about 60 minutes gone but I kept him on.
“He almost proved to be the match winner. He set up Shaq who had a great chance and won the free-kick that Ryan scored from.
“Ryan has the height, the power and the pace. He’s a very important player for us and it was a terrific strike.
“He had a couple of efforts in the first half that went just wide, but I would not have liked to have been in that wall.”