Southend United continued to build fitness in preparation for the National League season this evening in a 3-2 defeat against a Brentford XI.
Jack Bridge and Sam Dalby were on target, as Phil Brown’s side raced into a two-goal lead before being pegged back level before the interval. Brentford struck early in the second half and the score line remained that way, as many of Blues’ more senior players played their first full 90 minutes this pre-season.
Blues started very brightly and had their first chance within 50 seconds. Jason Demetriou lofted a great ball into Rhys Murphy, the striker met the ball acrobatically in the air but could only fire wide of the right post.
But the home side’s early pressure reaped rewards five minutes in. A Brentford attack had the Bees defenders drawn into Southend’s half, but quick thinking from Demetriou saw the right back launch a ball forward from a quick free kick, putting Bridge through one on one. Despite a valiant effort from the Brentford defence, Bridge slotted past Matthew Cox to put Blues ahead.
Just a minute later, the visitors nearly drew level. A poor clearance saw Alex Gilbert with the ball 20 yards out, his attempt to lob Steve Arnold was unsuccessful as it came crashing off the crossbar.
The momentum of the game began to even out as Dalby had a long-range effort deflected wide for a corner and Joe Adams attempted to lob Arnold but fired wide.
However, the Blues’ lead was doubled on the 17th minute, as Harry Phillips did very well to win the ball in midfield before laying it off to Murphy. The striker’s shot was parried into the path of Dalby, who was in the right place at the right time to fire home his first goal in a Southend shirt.
It didn’t take long for Brentford to reduce the arrears as on the 20th minute they were given a penalty when Arnold crashed into Nathan Young-Coombes in the box after a mix-up between the goalkeeper and Shaun Hobson. Adams slotted the spot kick into the bottom right corner to cut Southend’s lead in half.
The young Bees continued to threaten as a well worked move from the right flank to the left ended up at the feet of Adams, but his effort was well saved by Arnold.
After a good spell from the visitors, Brown’s side looked to make their lead more comfortable and nearly did so. Bridge, who caused numerous problems for the visitors cut a ball inside for Murphy, but his left-footed effort flew over Cox’s crossbar.
But the hosts were made to pay for their missed chances as Brentford drew level in the 36th minute. A stray ball in the Blues defence was picked up by Young-Coombes who fired against the post, and in a flurry of chances within the Southend box, the ball fell to Adams who eventually fired home to equalise for Neil MacFarlane’s side.
The first half seemed as if it was fizzling out until a late chance for the Blues. An unconventional corner routine saw Phillips whip a left-footed ball in which Hobson touched into the air. Bridge received the ball on the volley, but he lifted his effort over the crossbar.
As Brown’s side continue to work on their match fitness, much of the side remained the same with just Arnold and Phillips being replaced by Seaden and Trialist B respectively.
But, on the 54th minute, the score line did not remain the same, and it was the young Bees who went ahead in the match. Adams, who had already bagged a brace, cut the ball inside to Lachlan Brook who netted with a delightful finish from just outside the area.
Three minutes later, Murphy came close to equalising for Southend as he fired a low effort which Ben Winterbottom gathered at his second attempt.
Chances were few and far between for both sides in an uneventful spell of play that followed with Murphy and a Brentford Trialist having half chances for their respective sides.
Impressive work from Dalby in the 81st minute saw him play a great ball in for substitute Louis Walsh, but the winger could only bundle an effort into the side netting.
Blues came close again in the 85th minute, as the ball bounced fortuitously into the feet of Dalby, after losing his footing slightly, the Southend new boy struck a left footed effort into the same side netting that had been hit four minutes previously.
In the closing action of the game, a teasing corner from Trialist B was nearly headed into the Brentford net by a Bees defender, but the score line remained as the visitors came away with a 3-2 win as both sides continue to build pre-season fitness.
Southend United - Arnold (Seaden 45’), Demetriou (81’), White, Hobson, Ralph (Howard 63’), Phillips (Trialist B 45’), Dunne (Ferguson 73’), Ogogo, Bridge (Egbri 63’), Murphy (Rush 90’), Dalby.
Southend – Bridge 5’ , Dalby 17’
Brentford – Adams 20’ 36’ Brook 54’