WHEN it comes to following the fortunes of Southend United it is often wise to expect the unexpected.

Games which should be won often end in defeat and games which look far tougher on paper often end in victory.

However, when it comes to the FA Cup the Shrimpers are far more predictable and Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at League Two side Yeovil Town saw Phil Brown’s side suffer their fourth successive first round exit.

In 2014 Blues were beaten by Chester at the first hurdle before losing at both Scunthorpe United and Millwall.

Defeat at Yeovil continued the trend and means Blues have still not won in the FA Cup since beating Millwall 4-1 in January 2014.

Saturday seemed an ideal opportunity to end that wretched cup record as the Shrimpers faced a Yeovil side sitting 17th in the League Two standings.

The Glovers were also without two of their main strikers who were both serving suspensions while Southend headed into the game on the back of two successive 1-0 wins in their own League campaign which saw them 29 places above their hosts.

However, that did certainly not seem the case once the game got underway as Yeovil looked the hungrier of the two teams.

Their combative style may not always have been pretty on the eye but they allowed Blues little time on the ball and constantly hassled and hurried their opponents. Yeovil’s superior determination eventually led to them taking the lead from the penalty spot and, despite a slight improvement in the second half, the Shrimpers were able to fight back.

Too many times, unnecessary flicks and ambitious cross-field passes went astray and Jason Demetriou’s post-match assessment was completely spot on as Blues came up drastically short on the ugly side of the game.

Of course, a few chances came and went and the Shrimpers were at times perhaps a little unlucky not to equalise.

Stephen McLaughlin saw two low shots blocked in front of goal before a freakish own goal was disallowed late on when Simon Cox was adjudged to have fouled Yeovil goalkeeper Artur Krysiak before the ball hit the back of the net.

On another day, those key incidents could have gone differently but too many times in recent history Blues have failed to progress in cup competitions for it to be just a coincidence.

The Shrimpers were also knocked out of the League Cup by another League Two side, Newport County, at the start of the season and boss Brown has now lost 17 of his 25 cup matches in charge of the club.

Blues have actually failed to win at all in the League Cup since his arrival in 2013 and the Roots Hall hierarchy will be keen to find out why before the start of next season.

Chairman Ron Martin has invested heavily in the Southend squad this term and an FA Cup run would have been an ideal opportunity to bring money back into the club. That will now not be happening but – unlike previous campaigns – it was not down to making changes to the starting line-up.

In games gone by, cup matches have been used to rest senior players and give one or two squad members an opportunity to shine.

However, on Saturday, an unchanged starting line-up was selected but ultimately failed to deliver. Mentality is seemingly a buzz word within the Blues camp but it did not seem right at the weekend as Yeovil became the latest club to end a Southend cup run.

The Shrimpers will now be looking to avoid similar disappointment when they resume their league campaign later this month but lessons can certainly be learned from their Huish Park heartache.

The attitude, above all else, must be spot on.

But Southend will surely now be even more determined to recover from this disappointment and get back to their best to achieve their main goal this season - success in the League.