SOUTHEND United sunk to the first defeat of their pre-season campaign this afternoon, losing 2-1 at Braintree Town.

Blues seemed to be heading for a draw when Barry Corr cancelled out Michael Bakare’s opener for the hosts.

But it was the Conference club who came out on top, courtesy of a controversial penalty from Kenny Davis.

The Shrimpers started with trialists Gavin Hoyte and Roman-Michael Percil both in their side.

However, chances were few and far between during a mostly uneventful encounter which started slowly.

But Braintree took the lead just before the break with Bakare firing home from close range.

Southend almost equalised immediately after with Luke Prosser shooting inches wide of the left post from 20 yards.

At the start of the second half, trialist defender Leon Cort entered the action along with former Hereford United right-back Dan Leadbitter.

And, within five minutes of the second half, the Shrimpers were back level as Corr impressively carved open an opportunity before cleverly dinking the ball over the advancing Nick Hamann.

But Braintree were not to be pegged back for long and in the 65th minute they regained the lead after Ben Coker was harshly adjudged to have mistimed a challenge inside the penalty area and Davis confidently slammed home a powerful effort from 12 yards.

Southend almost levelled again when Conor Clifford sent a well struck 25 yard shot against the crossbar.

The visitors also introduced striker Rowan Liburd, who lined up against them for Billericay Town last week, but he was unable to get Blues back in to the game.

Southend United: Bentley; Hoyte (Leadbitter), White (Cort), Prosser (Banton), Coker, Hurst (Fagan), Clifford, Atkinson (Payne), Michael-Percil (Barnard), Corr (Liburd), Weston (Bridge).