SOUTHEND United coach Kevin Maher felt his under-23 team would have learnt from this afternoon's 4-0 defeat at AFC Wimbledon.

The Dons selected a strong starting line-up to face the Shrimpers at the Kingsmeadow Stadium.

And, despite the result, Maher thought the Blues side would have taken plenty from the game.

“That’s the nearest you’re going to get to playing a League One game at under-23 level and the younger players in our team will have learnt plenty from it,” said Maher.

“It’s not always about technical ability in football, because it’s often about being physical as well.

“You need to roll your sleeves up and battle.”

The Dons included experienced striker James Hanson in their starting line-up along with ex-Shrimpers winger Mitch Pinnock.

But Blues were left ruing a couple of missed chances.

“The first half was very even and we did have a couple of opportunities to score,” said Maher.

“We had a very good opportunity just before they got their first goal on the stroke of half-time.

“After that we made a few changes and some of the senior players went off but it was still disappointing to concede three more goals like we did.”

The Shrimpers started with the fit-again defender Harry Lennon, who lined up at the heart of the back four having recovered from the broken toe he suffered against Doncaster Rovers on the opening day of the season.

Wingers Michael Kightly and Stephen McLaughlin, who have found first team starts hard to come by in recent weeks, also started and were taken off, alongside Lennon, after 58 minutes.

Dons scored three of their goals after the trio had departed having previously taken the lead just before the break with Alfie Egan on target.

Jack Rudoni doubled Wimbledon’s lead in the 64th minute before Tyler Burey made it 3-0 just seconds later with an impressive effort which flew into the top corner of the net.

Dons skipper Will Nightingale completed the scoring with a header in the 74th minute.

Southend United: Bishop, Howard, Curran, Lennon (Mitchell-Nelson 58), Clifford, Kightly (Kinali 58), Batlokwa, Klass (Benton 70), McLaughlin (Acquah 58), Hutchinson, Wabo

Subs not used: Bexon & Knock