Southend United were denied a place in the second round of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, as AFC Wimbledon won 4-2 on penalties after a 2-2 draw in normal time.Jack Payne, making just his fourth start, opened the scoring inside five minutes, grabbing his first ever goal for Southend United.
Kevin Sainte-Luce equalised for the Dons just ten minutes later, before the hosts were reduced to ten men when Harry Pell was shown a straight red inside the opening 20 minutes.
Blues retook the lead early in the second-half as Payne grabbed his second of the night with an excellent 20-yard strike.
Ben Coker and Lee Barnard saw their penalties saved before Matt Tubbs stepped up to win it for the hosts.
It looked as though Blues would get back to winning ways, but former captain Adam Barrett scored a stunning late strike to send the game to penalties.
As Blues looked to enjoy similar success to that of 2004, 2005, 2013 in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy in which they reached the final, Phil Brown made five changes from Saturday.
Gary Deegan made his Blues debut, while Jack Payne, Mads Ibenfeldt, David Worrall and Shaq Coulthirst also came into the side. Cian Bolger was suspended, while Ryan Leonard, Barry Corr and Kevan Hurst dropped down to the bench. Conor Clifford was not in the squad.
Blues started brightly and were rewarded in the opening five minutes. Weston skipped away from former Blue Adam Barrett after a good ball in behind from John White, and it came across to Payne who poked home for his first goal in professional football.
Payne was impressing just behind Coulthirst for Blues, and he almost got his second of the night. The youngster played a neat one-two with Atkinson, but could only blaze wide on his right foot.
Coulthirst then had a chance of his own as he got away from Mark Phillips, but his effort from just inside the penalty area was well saved by James Shea in the Dons goal.
Despite an excellent start, Blues were pegged back by the Dons inside 15 minutes. A low corner from Tom Beere came to the edge of the box and Sainte-Luce was on hand to power past Daniel Bentley.
The hosts may have levelled, but they were soon a man light as Pell went in over the top on Worrall and was shown a straight red card by the referee.
The tempo of the game slowed following the red card, but just before half-time, Blues were within a whisker of going back in front.
A deep cross came through to Coulthirst who looped a header over the goalkeeper, but Mark Phillips was on hand to clear off the line.
Blues didn’t have to wait long after the restart to retake the lead. Ben Coker played a quick free-kick into Payne, who drove forward and from 20-yards struck a lovely right-footed effort into the bottom corner.
Payne twice went close to grabbing a hat-trick, having one effort blocked by a defender and then seeing the Dons goalkeeper make a good low save down to his right.
Coulthirst and Coker also both went close, before substitute Ryan Leonard saw a stunning 20-yard effort tipped over by Shea.
Blues had rarely been troubled in the second-half, but Barrett sent the game to penalties with a stunning 22-yard strike with his left foot.
Ben Coker and Lee Barnard had their penalties saved, before Tubbs stepped up and sent Bentley the wrong way to win it for AFC Wimbledon.
Blues: Bentley; White (Corr), Ibenfeldt, Prosser, Coker; Deegan (Leonard), Payne, Atkinson; Coulthirst, Worrall, Weston (Barnard).
Subs: T. Smith, Hurst