A Shawn McCoulsky double wasn’t enough to prevent Southend exiting the Carabao Cup at the 1st Round stage as Blues lost 4-2 to Championship side Brentford at Roots Hall.
Brentford made 11 changes to their side that drew at Stoke at the weekend and they had much the better of the first-half, creating their first opening after just three minutes when Marcus Forss’ strike had to be parried away by Mark Oxley
Blues made four changes of their own and they found chances hard to come by with a Stephen McLaughlin volley and a Michael Klass curling effort, both of which missed the target, the best Southend could muster against their Championship opposition.
With the exception of Forss’ effort early on, neither goalkeeper had really been tested until late in the half when Oxley showed quick reactions to stop Nico Yennaris’ deflected effort going in before Said Benrahma was unable to react quick enough to force in the rebound.
But the visitors were able to break the deadlock before the interval when Forss was slipped in by a perfectly weighted pass from Josh Clarke, with the Bees debutant flashing his shot across Oxley and into the bottom corner to give Brentford the lead.
The scoreline could have been a lot worse for Chris Powell’s side going into the break as Oxley was required to save a curling effort from Alan Judge before making a smart double-save, first to prevent Benrahma from scoring, before parrying away Yennaris’ header from close range.
Having made it to half-time only a goal behind, Blues began to look more of a threat in the second period and went close to levelling when Simon Cox’s long ball freed Theo Robinson but with the goalkeeper off his line, Robinson was unable to find the target with his looping effort.
Blues though did level shortly after when another long ball forward allowed Robinson to run through on goal. His strike took a wicked deflection to loop up and over Luke Daniels before being nodded over the line by on-loan striker Shawn McCoulsky for his first Southend goal.
Southend was only level for a matter of minutes however as Brentford restored their lead almost immediately from a corner. Yennaris’ well-struck volley was too hot to handle for Oxley who could only parry the ball out to Julian Jeanvier who was quickest to react to score the rebound.
And Blues’ miserable run in the League Cup – which has seen them lose in the 1st Round every year since 2010 – looked set to continue as Brentford made it 3-1 three minutes later when Benrahma put the finishing touches to a neat one-two, firing low past Oxley.
Despite going two down, Southend continued to fight and made it an interesting final 20 minutes when McCoulsky curled a beautiful effort into the top corner to grab his second of the game and make it a nervy finish.
Southend went perilously close to levelling when Michael Klass rattled the crossbar with a header but the Bees made the game safe late on as Sergi Canos' strike rebounded to Kamohelo Mokotjo who fired in Brentford’s forth and put them into the hat for Thursday's 2nd Round draw.
Blues XI: Oxley (C), Coker, Dieng (Mantom 64’), Cox (Ba 86’), McLaughlin (Kightly 83’), Klass, Demetriou, Kyprianou, McCoulsky, Robinson, White. Subs Not Used: Bishop, Bwomono, Turner, Hendrie
Brentford XI: Daniels, Yennaris, Mokotjo, Woods, Judge (C), Clarke, Benrahma (Canos 80’), Jeanvier, Field, Forss (Maupay 70’), Sorensen (Mepham 30’). Subs Not Used: Bonham, McEachran, Sawyers, Ngoyo
Referee: Andrew Madley
Assistants: Robert Hyde & Adam Crysell
Fourth Official: Harry Lennard
Southend United: Shawn McCoulsky 62’, 72’
Brentford: Marcus Forss 42’, Julian Jeanvier 64’, Said Benrahma 67’, Kamohelo Mokotjo 85’
Southend United: Simon Cox 31’, Timothee Dieng 57’
Attendance: 3,645 (390 Away)