SOUTHEND United midfielder Will Atkinson was left bitterly disappointed after Tuesday night’s narrow defeat to Dagenham & Redbridge.

The Shrimpers fought hard with 10 men for 63 minutes of the match following a red card to defender Mark Phillips.

But Atkinson felt Phillips should only have been shown a yellow card for his challenge on Daggers striker Rhys Murphy.

“I was very close to the referee and he went to show him a yellow card, which I think would’ve been fair, but the linesman told him it was a red,” said Atkinson.

“We knew it was a local derby and I think you could tell it was by some of the challenges going in early on in the game.

“But we were disappointed to concede a goal so soon after going down to 10 men because we’ve shown already this season, at Hartlepool, that we can cope a man down.”

Blues improved in the second half after a stern team talk from manager Phil Brown.

And Atkinson believes they should have taken something from the game.

“The manager said we needed to play better at half-time and I think we did that in the second-half,” said the 25-year-old.

“I think the only thing missing from the performance was a goal and their goalkeeper made a couple of very good saves.

“We played with a lot of energy and worked hard but it just wouldn’t come off for us so it’s bitterly disappointing not to have got something from the game.”

Blues, who slipped to 11th in the League Two standings following the defeat, will now be bidding to bounce back at Newport County this weekend.

And Atkinson will be working on his finishing ahead of the trip to Wales after failing to make the most of some half chances against the Daggers.

“I had a couple of chances and I didn’t take them, so that’s frustrating,” said Atkinson.

“Dave Penney said to me afterwards we’re going to work on shooting quite a bit after that and I don’t blame him!”