Skipper John White gutted as Blues crash out of the play-offs against Burton Albion
Skipper Jonny White admitted it was one step too far for Southend United’s players, as they suffered play-off heartache on Saturday against Burton Albion.
Blues’ captain felt half-time came at the wrong time for the home side, as goals from Ryan Leonard and Anthony Straker had created an incredible atmosphere at Roots Hal.
White found it difficult to sum up his emotions following a 54-game season in which Blues have had a number of highs and lows.
He said: “We’re devastated as a group of players because it has been a long season with plenty of ups and downs and we were pleased to be in the position we were.
“Unfortunately it proved to be one step too far on Saturday. We just couldn’t get past Burton over the two legs. It’s very fresh at the moment and it hurts.
“We went a goal behind but showed the character we have here as a group to turn things around and level things up on aggregate, setting up a great second-half.
“In all honestly, half-time probably came at the wrong time for us, because we were well on top of the game and the atmosphere at Roots Hall was unbelievable.
“The second goal was frustrating because it’s possibly that bit of luck one of us needed and unfortunately for us it fell to them and McGurk tucked it away well.”
The right-back believes, however, that this group of players can learn from this hurt and return stronger next season as they look to gain promotion from League 2.
“The gaffer mentioned after the game how the way we are feeling is how Burton Albion were feeling this time last year,” White added. “They responded very well this season and will be at Wembley next week.
“We’ve got to grow up quickly as we’re a young squad. We’ve got to learn from this experience, and I do believe it will make us stronger, as a group and individually.
“Next season we will come back looking to get automatic promotion and make sure we’re not feeling like this again. It’s about taking these moments of hurt and turning them around.”