SOUTHEND United started 2013 with a 1-0 defeat at home to Gillingham yesterday afternoon, but defender Ryan Cresswell is still adamant it will be a successful year for Blues.

An early goal from Gills winger Chris Whelpdale saw Paul Sturrock’s side slump to a 1-0 defeat in front of more than 7,000 fans at Roots Hall.

But Cresswell is certain there will soon be plenty for Southend to cheer.

“It was disappointing to lose the game and we’re all gutted, but there’s no need for doom and gloom because I still think this will be a good season for us,” said the centre-back.

“Gillingham are top of the table and, although we’ve lost to them twice, I think we’re a better team than them.

“Player for player I wouldn’t swap anyone in their team for anyone in ours and that shows how strong we are because they’re a very strong side.

“However, we’ve lost twice in 16 games now and when you think where we were in the table before that run started we’ve done really well.

“We’re also confident we can get on another good run and remain in the play-off positions.”

Blues have slipped to fifth in the League Two table following the narrow defeat against Gills.

But the defender insisted the team could take confidence from their second half performance.

“We were much better after the break and it was definitely a game of two different halves,” said Cresswell.

“Gillingham were on top in the first half and we were by far the better team in the second.

“We can take heart from that, despite not getting the result we wanted, and we can take that in to the next two games we have coming up in cup competitions.”

Blues host Brentford in the third round of the FA Cup on Saturday before travelling to Oxford United the following Tuesday in the southern area semi-final of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy.