SOUTHEND United manager Phil Brown told the club’s fans to direct their flak at him and not the players following a humiliating FA Cup exit at the hands of Chester on Saturday.

For just the third time in their 108 year history, Blues were beaten at home by non league opposition as their Conference visitors triumphed 2-1 in the first round of the competition.

But Brown fully understood the frustration of the fans who jeered his side at the final whistle.

“You’re always going to get flak when you’re losing at home to non league opposition,” said the Shrimpers chief.

“However, they can give me flak and it’s not a problem just as long as they don’t give it to the players.

Blues got back on level terms midway through the first half at Roots Hall when Barry Corr fired home a penalty to cancel out Ben Heneghan’s opener for Chester.

But Craig Mahon bagged what proved to be the winning goal just six minutes in to the second half.

And Brown’s substitutions which followed, most notably the substitution of David Worrall for Kevan Hurst, were heavily jeered by the supporters.

“You’re 2-1 down and we needed to make changes, tactical changes,” explained Brown.

“I’m looking for Kevan Hurst to start his season because last year he was a real match-winner.

“He was a goalscorer and a maker of goals too and I thought I would give him an opportunity.

“So that’s why Dave Worrall came off and fresh legs came on.”

However, the changes could not get Blues back in to the game.

And Brown felt Chester, who sit 14th in the Conference, fully deserved their win.

“Chester were the better side and they deserve credit,” said the Blues boss.

“They defended better in their penalty box than we did and their number nine held the ball up better than we did which enabled them to play in our half.

“We were beaten fair and square.”

But Brown still found the depressing defeat hard to take and he also hated having to listen to Chester celebrating their victory in the visiting changing room.

“I’m hurt and disappointed by this defeat and listening to their changing room, with the music blasting out and them singing along wasn’t nice,” said Brown.

“But we have to put it right in the league now. We want to fight for promotion and we have to be confident of turning things around.”