Reaction from the Boss following the 2-1 defeat to Gillingham...
Phil Brown came away from Gillingham saying that he was “so proud” of his players for the second half performance but felt some “strange and poor decisions” cost them.
A quick-fire double from Josh Wright put Gillingham 2-0 up before Ryan Inniss was sent off for a second yellow card.
Nile Ranger grabbed a goal late on for Southend but they couldn’t force an equaliser as Gillingham won for the first time under Ady Pennock.
Brown felt that his side’s problems began when they failed to get going in the first half, before decisions by referee Dean Whitestone went against his side.
“We beat ourselves in the first half. I don’t think we really came to the party at all," said Brown. "I don’t think we really contributed too much to a good game of football.
“Today we were spiked by a decision that went against us. The sending off and the second goal, all of a sudden you’ve got a group of lads who are really agitated, aggravated, wanting blood at half time.
“For 10 against 11 we showed character, grit, determination but it wasn’t for the want of trying to get something from the game. We were unhinged by some very strange and poor decisions.
The key decisions in the first half were the awarding to Gillingham of a penalty for an apparent foul by Jason Demetriou on Cody McDonald, which initially was waved away by Whitestone.
The sending off for Inniss only compounded Southend’s miserable first half, and both were crucial decisions that Brown thought the officials got wrong.
“The penalty kick was a coming together of one recovering player and one attacking player crossing together. The referee has initially crosses his arms about to wave it away and his next movement is a whistle to his mouth and blows for a penalty.
“That for me is a referee under pressure and for somebody who is as experienced as he’s supposed to be making a decision like that has cost us the game. The sending off is even worse.
“The linesman gives a free-kick from his angle but it’s actually a free kick for Ryan Inniss. Is there a second yellow card warranted?
“It’s the wrong decision giving the free kick let alone sending him off, but to compound that with a second yellow card is just unbelievable refereeing.”
Overall, Brown was delighted with the reaction from his side in the second half, although he felt his players should have played like that from minute one.
Regardless, at full time Brown was immensely proud of his Blues players and thought that if they had grabbed an equaliser it would have felt better than a win.
“Absolutely [delighted with the reaction], but we need that response from minute one. You get that response from minute one you’ve got half a chance of winning the game.
“I said to the lads that I would probably have got red carded out there today because of my passion for winning, by passion for this football club and my passion to try and get promoted.
“I felt for them out there. Second half I was so proud of them, it was unbelievable. To get the first goal, to have gotten a second goal it would have been as good as a win.”