SOUTHEND United’s under 23 coach Kevin Maher was full of praise for his side following a narrow 1-0 win at Barnet.

A second half goal from centre-back Dan Matsuzaka handed the young Shrimpers their first competitive victory of the season.

And Maher - whose team had right-back Elvis Bwomono sent off late on - felt it was a well deserved triumph.

“I was really pleased with the performance and obviously the result as well,” said Maher.

“Last time out we let in five goals against MK Dons so we had worked on the defensive side of things and that made the clean sheet very rewarding.

“The shape of the side was much better and we definitely deserved the win.

“We could have won by more as we had some good chances in the first half and also had a couple of decent penalty shouts.

“But in the end one goal was enough and I’m happy with how it went.”

Blues bagged the only goal of the Central League Cup clash in the 62nd minute when Matsuzaka fired home a cross from Nico Cotton.

The centre-back was partnered at the heart of the back four by 17-year-old Taylor Curran who was making his debut for the under 23s.

And the Shrimpers were able to see out the clash, despite having Bwomono sent off.

The right-back - who has started four of Blues’ last five first team games - was harshly dismissed for a professional foul.

Southend United: Bishop, Bwomono, Curran, Matsuzaka, Clifford, Bridge, Wright, Klass, Cotton, Phillips, Wabo