SOUTHEND United manager Paul Sturrock felt his side’s improved second half showing should have earned them at least a share of the spoils against Gillingham at Roots Hall yesterday.

An early goal from Gills winger Chris Whelpdale handed the visitors a 1-0 win and condemned Blues to a second successive defeat.

But Sturrock thought Southend deserved a point.

“Gillingham could have been further ahead at half time, but in the second half it was all us and we deserved to take something from the game,” said Sturrock.

“There’s no excuse for the first half performance because it wasn’t good enough.

“However, after we changed things around a bit, we were camped in and around their box.

“It just wouldn’t go our way in front of goal though and if one of the chances had gone in then we might even have sneaked a win.”

But Blues were unable to convert any of the chances that came their way in the second period.

And Sturrock was also disappointed by the manner of the goal which gave Gills all three points as Chris Whelpdale volleyed home a routine free-kick forward from Joe Martin.

“It was a bad goal for us to give away,” said Sturrock.

“One of the lads has held their hands up to making a mistake, but now we want to get back on the rails and we have two cup games coming up to try and do that.”

Southend host Brentford in the third round of the FA Cup before heading to Oxford United in the southern section semi-final of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.

And midfielder Michael Timlin is keen to see an immediate response from Blues.

“We have two big cup games coming up now and it’s important we do well in them before heading back into the league,” said Timlin.

“We want to bounce back from these two defeats and we can make no excuses for how we played in the first half against Gillingham.

“We did better in the second half, but we won’t go back to the way we were towards the start of the season and we need to go and make sure this is just a blip in our season.”