SOUTHEND United manager Phil Brown hit out at referee Gavin Ward following his side’s exit from the Capital One Cup against Walsall on Tuesday night.

The Shrimpers were beaten 2-1 by the Saddlers at Roots Hall.

But Brown was left fuming after he opted to show Walsall defender Paul Downing a yellow card for a foul on Lee Barnard when he appeared to be the last man.

“Barney’s through on goal with the goalkeeper to beat, it’s a red card and a poor decision from the referee,” said Brown.

“The referee has had an absolute beast. He can't have gone home and slept well because he's denied us the chance of going through to the second round of the Capital One Cup."

Brown was also frustrated by his side’s finishing in front of goal as they wasted a number of clear cut chances.

However, he was pleased by the overall level of performance.

“I thought the better team lost if I’m honest but we just didn’t take the chances we created,” said Brown.

“We had clear cut opportunities and fluffed our lines.

“But Walsall had more patience than we did and they showed their quality with the second goal they scored.”