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14 September 2021

Phil Brown said that he and his players let the supporters down this evening after Blues fell to a 3-2 defeat to Aldershot Town at Roots Hall.

The Shots hadn’t picked up a point from their opening five games of the season before tonight and they gifted Southend a lead when goalkeeper Mitch Walker’s clearance rebounded off Rhys Murphy who was allowed the simplest of tap-ins.

Jason Demetriou though put the ball into his own net to level matters before the break, before goals from Mo Bettamer and Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong put Aldershot on course for the win, despite a late consolation goal from Demetriou.

“There’s a lot of things you can say but the bottom line is you’re looking at a group of players that have let the supporters down, myself included,” said the Blues boss following the full-time whistle.

Brown continued, by saying: “I played a change of system and put players in the right positions…and going into the game we were fairly confident we would create chances.

“When the first goal goes in, fluke or not, I’m thinking confidence levels would be raised and people would start expressing themselves. Then we concede a goal and again we go the other way in terms of motivation and spirit that we’d shown in the first-half.

“We didn’t think Aldershot had enough quality, but they certainly had enough threat in terms of the strike force and then the second goal goes in down the side of Josh Coulson, which is an unforgivable goal.”

As the full-time whistle blew, boos rung around Roots Hall as Brown’s side suffered a second successive loss, extending their winless run in the league to five games since the opening day victory against King’s Lynn.

And the Southend manager was fully understanding of the frustration the fans expressed this evening.

“5,000 of them turned up today and they got behind the team in the first-half and were frustrated in the second-half. The reason for the frustration is because of the two or three years that we’ve had since the last time I left.

“But I’m now firmly involved in that and I’m firmly responsible for tonight’s performance. It drastically has to change.

“The way we addressed the six games at the end of last season in League Two has got to be the way we address the situation this season.

“We’ve got that target on our back and I accept that we are a big club in a small division, supposedly, and that we’re going to get fired at. We need to have the character to be able to stand up against that and then play the football that we can play.”

The defeat leaves Southend down in 16th in the National League table after six games.

Brown though said that he wasn’t bothered about Blues’ league position and is more concerned about his players’ character ahead of this weekend’s visit to Torquay United.

“I’m not bothered at this moment about league positions; I’m bothered about the character of my team and the character of my team was to be found wanting.

“I’ve never had a group of players that have represented me in any other way but my character and my character was to fight to the death and get on with the performance. If it goes your way, great; if not you get up out of bed the next day, get on the training ground and try and work at your basics.

“The division that we’re playing in, you’ll get found wanting if you don’t do the basics properly and that’s what we didn’t do today.

“Second-half I think too many players went missing and consequently you’re back to the drawing board the following day and you’ve got Torquay on Saturday. It’s not going to get any easier, but you’ve got to go into work being prepared to work hard and keep your shirt.”

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