SOUTHEND United were knocked out of the EFL Trophy at Roots Hall tonight with Portsmouth cruising to a comfortable 3-0 victory.

Shrimpers boss Mark Molesley opted to make six changes to his starting line-up.

But a youthful side never looked like troubling their League One opponents who could easily have recorded a more convincing triumph but for some poor finishing and some good goalkeeping from Mark Oxley.

Portsmouth piled on the pressure right from the start with Ben Close and Ryan Williams both sending efforts wide of the left post from long range.

Moments later, Rasmus Nicolaisen volleyed Close’s right wing corner over the crossbar from six yards before Williams saw a low effort blocked by the legs of Shrimpers goalkeeper Mark Oxley.

But Portsmouth finally make the breakthrough in the 21st minute, with John Marquis on target from the spot.

The penalty was awarded by referee Paul Howard after Tom Clifford brought down Haji Mnoga in the box.

And Marquis made the most of the opportunity, sending his spot-kick into the bottom right hand corner of the net.

Mnoga soon sent a long range effort straight at Oxley before Blues hit back with Timothee Dieng heading Clifford’s inswinging free-kick straight at Portsmouth goalkeeper Alex Bass.

Portsmouth soon replied with Oxley doing well to deny Marquis from 10 yards before the visitors doubled their lead four minute before the break when a long range effort from Curtis flew into the right hand side of the net after taking a deflection.

The visitors continued to push forward with Mnoga and Curtis both wasting excellent chances to score on the stroke of half-time.

Blues made a change at the break with Kenny Coker replacing Dieng before the home-side were forced into making a second alteration in the 52nd minute with Lewis Gard stretchered off with a worrying looking injury.

Gard was replaced by Oli Coker for the youngster’s first team debut but Portsmouth continued to pose problems with Cameron Pring somehow firing wide from close range. Nicolaisen then saw another header impressively pushed wide of the left post by Oxley before his opposite number, Bass, did well to tip Harry Kyprianou’s header over the crossbar.

After surviving the scare, Portsmouth replied with Andrew Cannon firing just past the right post from the edge of the penalty area before Blues made their final change of the night in the 74th minute with new signing Ashley Nathaniel-George replacing Emile Acquah.

But, four minutes later, Portsmouth made it 3-0 with Curtis curling a low 25 yard shot into the bottom right hand corner before Blues came close to netting a late consolation with Matt Rush and Richard Taylor both being denied by Bass.

Blues: Oxley, Hobson, Dieng (K Coker 46), R Taylor, Clifford, Egbri, Phillips, Gard (O Coker 52), Kyprianou, Rush, Acquah (Nathaniel-George 74)