SOUTHEND United’s promotion dreams ended in tears at Roots Hall last night.
Blues were held to a 2-2 draw by Crewe Alexandra, meaning they crashed to a 3-2 defeat on aggregate.
And that left members of the team, including winger Ryan Hall, crying at the end of the game.
Southend twice came from behind to keep themselves in the tie with Chris Barker, on his 100th game for the club and substitute Neil Harris both on target.
But manager Paul Sturrock felt a poor first half was ultimately to blame for the defeat.
“We can’t afford to play like we did in the first 45 minutes and expect to get success,” said Sturrock. “In the second half we had the aggression and appetite you need and if we had that from the start then it might have been a different game.”
Southend improved after the break but were just unable to take the tie to extra time, much to the disappointment of Harris, whose arrival in the 54th minute seemed to spark his side in to life.
“We were poor for an hour in both legs of the semi-final against Crewe and unfortunately we’ve come up just short,” said Harris.
“We nearly did it but nearly isn’t good enough and we have a very disappointed dressing room.”
The aggregate loss condemns Blues to another season in League Two.