SOUTHEND United's reserve team manager Graham Coughlan admitted to being embarrassed by his side's exit from the Essex Senior Cup against Waltham Abbey tonight.

A Blues team containing six players to have featured in League Two season were beaten 2-1 by their Ryman Division One North opponents at the quarter final stage of the competition.

And that left Coughlan a frustrated figure at the final whistle.

“It was very embarrassing and I'm not sure where the players go from here,” said the Irishman.

“I will accept the buck stops with me as manager because I put the team on the pitch and put my philosophy of honesty and hard work to one side.

“I'm a bad loser and I'm hurting tonight.”

In a match played at Great Wakering Rovers' Burroughs Park home, Blues went closest to scoring during an uneventful first half when a 20 yard shot from Mitchell Pinnock crashed against the outside of the left post.

The start of the second half was also short of excitement until Coughlan made a double change in the 57th minute as Jack Payne came on to replace Anthony Straker, while Seedy Njie replaced Freddy Eastwood in attack.

And, seven minutes after his introduction, Payne put Blues in front when he headed home a right wing cross from Elliot Benyon.

However, Southend were in front for just six minutes as Abbey equalised when James Peagram's 25 yard free-kick was impressively palmed out by Blues' goalkeeper Daniel Bentley, only for Christian Wheeler to fire the resulting rebound in to the back of the net from close range.

Ten minutes later, Abbey grabbed what proved to be the game's winning goal in controversial circumstances.

With the linesman waving his flag for offside, Bentley opted to pick the ball up and place it down for a free kick.

But the referee insisted he had yet to blow his whistle and penalised the goalkeeper for handling a back-pass.

He awarded a free-kick just eight yards out which was rolled in to the path of Peagram who hit the back of the net to fire Waltham Abbey in to the final four.

Southend United: Bentley, Auger, Banton, Baucutt, Straker (Payne 57), Spicer, Paxman, Pinnock, Harris, Eastwood (Njie 57), Benyon