Southend United Manager, Phil Brown was delighted with his side’s application as the Blues kicked off their pre-season with a 7-0 win at Great Wakering Rovers.Goals from David Mooney, a brace apiece from Ryan Leonard and one of Blues’ trialists on show and late goals from Renei Batlokwa and Nico Cotton saw Blues get off to a great start.
And Brown was pleased with the performance of his players in this one.
“The fitness levels looked good, but against non-league opposition you would expect them to be good.” He said.
“The quality was good, but I’m not bothered about the scoreline, at the end of the day we will have our good day and hiccups in pre-season but it’s all about being ready for the 6th August.
“Players have come in on trial and impressed, and new players and those that have been here for a while have done what was expected of them in terms of their attitude and mentality.
“We’ve had two teams playing 45 minutes there and I’m delighted with that and everyone coming through unscathed apart from probably Jack Bridge who took a slight knock to his ribs.”
The Blues began the game well – going close as Jermaine McGlashan's cross was narrowly headed over.
Five minutes gone and a Blues corner whipped in by Ben Coker was met by a trialist who's header was cleared off the line.
McGlashan, who looked lively down the wing, cut in to cross to Mooney who just couldn't quite latch on to it.
The Irishman had no such problem on the 10-minute mark as he headed home from Jason Demetriou's cross from the right to give Blues the lead.
Blues made it two soon after - this time Ryan Leonard found the target! Another cross from Demetriou was nodded down by Mooney who gave Leonard the chance to fire home!
After Demetriou smashed the post with a long range effort, Blues went three up on the half hour mark - Leornard with a brace as he found the net with a well-executed lob over the keeper!
Half time – Great Wakering Rovers 0-3 Southend United.
Blues completely changed in personnel from the first half began the second period on the front foot again, whipping some dangerous balls into the area.
Southend went close on 57’ as John White picked out Barrett at the back post who volleyed over.
A minute later, Jack Bridge tried his luck as he stung the palms of Rovers keeper, Belcher from just outside the box.
White, who looked dangerous on the flank nearly saw his well-timed cross sneak in, but Belcher managed to tip over.
Blues were four up on 72’- Will Atkinson picked out the trialist in the box from the right who headed into the far corner.
Both Bridge and Jason Williams went close before Bridge was replaced by Batlokwa after suffering an injury to his ribs.
Blues had a fifth inside the last ten minutes as the same trialist who had put Blues four to the good, stretched the advantage further as he rifled home a free kick from the edge.
Batlokwa used pace and skill to deceive the Rovers defence only to be brought down in the box – penalty given.
Batlokwa stood up to take the spot kick himself, slotting it into the right corner.
Nico Cotton wrapped up proceedings with a stunning strike in added time. The midfielder sent a swerving 30 yard shot into the top left hand corner of the net to make it seven.
And that’s how it finished as Southend started their preparations for the new season with a convincing victory in the annual pre-season curtain raiser.
Southend XI First Half | Smith, Demetriou, Thompson, Trialist, Coker, O'Neill, Leonard, Timlin, McGlashan, Mooney, Trialist.
Southend XI Second Half| Bexon, White, Barrett, Trialist, Kyprianou, Cotton, Atkinson, Trialist, Bridge, Trialist, Williams.