Blues suffer narrow defeat in final pre-season match.
Blues finished pre-season with a defeat against Leyton Orient despite having the better chances in the encounter, which saw Noel Hunt make his debut at Roots Hall.
A solitary strike from Paul McCallum was enough to secure victory for the O’s with the former West Ham man producing a dipping strike from 30 yards in the 24th minute.
New signing Noel Hunt had to started from the bench, while Dan Bentley returned to the starting line-up for Blues.
Dean Cox had the first notable chance of the game, but lashed a swirling effort over Bentley’s goal from range.
Cox was at the heart of most of Orient’s promising attacking moves, but after taking aim from distance, his low effort only found the waiting arms of Bentley.
Orient had the ball in the back of the net after 20 minutes, but it was ruled out for offside. Paul McCallum plucked the ball out of the air with a sublime first touch, before volleying into the Blues net.
McCallum had found the back of the net again four minutes later, when he took aim with a sublime dipping effort that beat Bentley from about 30 yards.
Blues almost issued an immediate response, with Ben Coker slinging a cross to the far post for Cian Bolger to arrive and thunder an effort off the outside of the far post.
Jack Payne then showed good feet to work the ball to David Mooney, who dribbled towards goal before dragging a low effort wide of goal from 25 yards.
Orient looked to double their advantage before the interval, with Jay Simpson drifting off the left-hand side to curl an effort wide of the far-post in the 34th minute.
With no other chances of note before the break, Blues went in one goal down at half-time.
There was just one change during the break, with Phil Brown bringing on Hunt for Myles Weston.
Hunt was immediately involved in the action for Blues, getting a strike away within two minutes of entering. His effort came back out to Will Atkinson, but Alex Cisak was alert and saved for the O’s.
Four minutes later, Atkinson provided Hunt with the ball, with the former Leeds United and Reading man swivelling and unleashing a powerful low effort that drew a save from Cisak.
Orient then made their first substitution of the afternoon in the 54th minute, with Scott Kashket coming on to replace goalscorer Paul McCallum.
On the hour mark, Hurst was withdrawn in order to give Michael Timlin the final 30 minutes.
Timlin fired over just three minutes after coming on, after some unrelenting pressure from Hunt won possession from the Orient defence in the left channel. He then cut the ball back for the bandaged Timlin, who then lashed the ball over Bentley’s goal.
Payne broke from midfield and slotted Mooney in on the left-hand side of the penalty area, but the former O’s man could only send his effort beyond the far post.
Blues then made their second change, when David Worrall came on to replace Payne with 20 minutes remaining.
Three more changes followed in the 75th minute, with Luke Prosser, Ryan Leonard and Anthony Wordsworth replacing Coker, Deegan and Atkinson.
Worrall found himself with space inside the penalty area in the 77th minute, poking a low effort across the face of goal that required a stop from Orient keeper Cisak.
John White then fizzed a dangerous cross across the face of the box, but nobody was on hand to convert. Moments later, Leonard’s fast-paced low ball was cleared behind for a corner by Pritchard.
Blues then hit the post for the second time during the encounter from the resulting corner, when Prosser glanced a headed effort onto the far post following the delivery from Timlin.
Blues had one final corner before the referee called time on the encounter, but Mooney’s attempted header was thwarted by a punch from Cisak.
SOUTHEND UNITED: Bentley; White, Bolger, Barrett, Coker (Prosser - 75’); Atkinson (Leonard - 75’), Deegan (Wordsworth - 75’), Payne (Worrall 70’), Hurst (Timlin - 60’); Weston (Hunt - 45’); Mooney.
Unused Subs: T. Smith.