sport

Brown bemoans cup defeat

Southend manager Phil Brown felt the better team lost following his side's 2-1 defeat against Walsall in the Capital One Cup.

Substitute Kieron Morris bagged a late winner for the Saddlers, but Brown insisted his own side should have won.

"For me the better side have lost out their tonight," said the Shrimpers boss.

"The players couldn't really have done anymore and it's frustrating because when it went to 1-1 the game was really there for the taking.

"We had one or two chances we could maybe have done better with but Walsall are a good side themselves and they showed that quality with their second goal.

"It's hard to take and I thought Walsall should have been down to 10 men when their defender (Paul Downing) was the last man and fouled Lee Barnard.

"The ref had a nightmare there but there were plenty of positives from our point of view and Jack Payne was a real thorn in their side."

Walsall looked to be in control early on when they opened the scoring in the 25th minute as Mal Benning fired home from six yards, via the underside of the crossbar, after being picked out by Andy Taylor's excellent left-wing cross.

However, Southend began to improve with Barnard having his effort saved by Richard O'Donnell when clean through on goal.

Shaq Coulthirst then fired wide when he also had just O'Donnell left to beat.

But Brown's boys finally equalised in the 68th minute when Ryan Leonard sent a stunning long-range shot flying in to the roof of the net.

Coulthirst then fired just wide from 20 yards before Luke Prosser's close-range header was superbly saved by O'Donnell.

Having survived the scares, Walsall then bagged a late winner as Morris collected the ball just outside the penalty area and sent an impressive left-foot shot flying past Paul Smith.

That delighted Saddlers boss Dean Smith who conceded his side had been forced to work hard for the win.

"Southend made it difficult for us but we expected that because they are a good side," said Smith.

"They made the play-offs last season and have strengthened since then so we always knew this was a hard game.

"After going in front, I thought we were a little bit unlucky to have a Tom Bradshaw effort ruled out for offside. I've seen it again and it looked fine to me. I also wasn't sure about the free-kick which led to Southend's equaliser.

"But thankfully that didn't come back to haunt us as we were still able to make it through."