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4 August 2021

Southend United fell to a 3-2 defeat to a Brentford XI side this evening but the Blues boss still felt there were plenty of positives to be taken from his side’s latest pre-season outing at Roots Hall.

One of those positives were goals for summer signings Jack Bridge and Sam Dolby which had put Southend 2-0 to the good before the midway point of the first-half.

But a brace from Joe Adams brought the young Bees level before Lachlan Brook scored what turned out to the be the winner for the visitors.

“The result meant nothing to me as it always does until we start kicking a ball in earnest,” said the Southend boss following the full-time whistle at Roots Hall.  

“I know Brentford have only got two teams – the first team and the u23s – so some of them boys [that played tonight] are near as damn it to playing Premier League football next year.

“We gave a good account of ourselves; we played some good football and we were a threat for the majority of the game.

“The benefit of tonight’s game is we got 90 minutes out of a lot of the seniors, no real injuries, 45 minutes out of Steve Arnold and more importantly 60 minutes from Nathan Ralph.

“I gave him the captaincy and he was flying. I love seeing players who love the game as much as I do and Ralphy is one of them and he’s absolutely delighted to be back.”

Southend tried out a new system against the Bees this evening with Brown going with three across the back with five in midfield.

Having different systems in the arsenal was something the Blues boss felt would be vital for his side this season while having one eye on what might work well against Southend’s opening National League opponents, King’s Lynn.

“We worked the system that we’d only been working at for a couple of days but it would be nice to be able to chop and change systems and pose the opposition more of a threat during the games.

“I went to see King’s Lynn last night and the one thing I’d say is that it mirrored the way Brentford played – passing the ball from the back and trying to play the beautiful game all the way through the pitch – so it was a good lesson for us tonight.

“If we get after teams – King’s Lynn being the first one – hopefully we can cause some problems in the final third like we did tonight.”

One of the biggest pluses from tonight’s game was a first goal in a Blues shirt for striker Sam Dalby who was in the right place at the right time to tap in from close range.

And Brown was pleased with what he saw from the 21-year-old who he feels could pose a big threat in the National League next season.

“We’ve been looking at another striker coming into the fray and that just adds a little bit more pressure onto the players that are on the field of play. Whether they know that or not doesn’t matter to me, when you get another striker that comes into the camp then the pressure mounts.

“I think Sam’s heard the rumours and he’s played alongside Rhys Murphy who has an old head on his shoulders. He knows the game and certainly knows the division and Sam can only learn from that.

“I think the National League will be more physical [compared to tonight] and there’ll be more battles to be won in the final third where Sam’s concerned.

“He won the majority of his headers tonight and the centre half didn’t go over the top of him once, so we got the second ball and we created problems through Sam. If we play to Sam’s strengths, he’ll be a threat in the National League.”


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