SOUTHEND’S director of rugby Chris Green was a frustrated figure after seeing his side slump to a narrow 14-13 defeat at Shelford in National Two South on Saturday.
The Seasiders landed just one of eight kicks at Warners Bridge, with Bradley Burr missing a conversion with the last kick of the game.
And Green felt it was a huge missed opportunity for his team, who remain second from bottom in the standings.
“We should have won the game, there’s no question about that,” said Green.
“We were 5-0 up at half-time, but Shelford were never in our half and we should have been out of sight by then.
“It should have been at least 15-0 and it’s disappointing because we need to pick up points and this was a great opportunity to do that.
“It’s a missed opportunity for us, but the encouraging thing is that we more than matched a top team and that will give us confidence for the matches we have coming up.”
Southend were on top early on against Shelford and their pressure led to Shelford centre Rory Hutchinson being yellow carded.
The Seasiders took advantage with Sam Arnott passing the ball out to Daniel Legge, who touched down for his second try in two games.
Southend were relentless, pinning Shelford in their own half and forcing another two kickable penalties.
Unfortunately the normally reliable Andrew Frost had left his kicking boot at home and he was unable to capitalise.
It was a similar story at the start of the second half with two more penalties sailing wide.
But, bolstered by still being only five points adrift, Shelford gathered themselves and got into the game when big number eight Feofaaku Lea touched down.
Hutchinson converted his kick and the visitors took an unlikely 7-5 lead.
Southend were now on the back foot and Shelford continued with their good work.
Another penalty conceded by Southend resulted in a yellow card for Andrew McClintock and an identical try by Lea.
Again Hutchinson slotted his kick and Shelford increased their lead to 14-5.
Shell-shocked Southend gathered themselves and their pressure forced a penalty and a yellow card for Shelford’s Jason Billows.
Burr took over the kicking duties and duly punted the ball between the sticks from close in to cut Shelford’s lead to 14-8.
A last-minute try from McClintock then brought the Seasiders’ to within a point of the visitors.
But Burr failed with the conversion as Shelford hung on to clinch an undeserved win.
Southend: Frost, Cleare, MacGeachy, Vaughan, Billings, Burr, Arnott, Bailey, Keenan, Irvine, McClintock, Barker, Green, Hudson, Legge. Replacements: Strachan, Cook, Ferrier, Daly & Ashton.