TOM Clifford opened his goalscoring account for Southend United in spectacular fashion - but has ultimately still been left feeling frustrated.

The 21-year-old left-back netted a brilliant free-kick against Oldham Athletic at Roots Hall on Tuesday night.

But his excitement at hitting the back of the net was shortlived as Blues conceded late on to suffer a 2-1 defeat against the Latics.

“It was a great feeling to grab my first goal for the club and it was great when it went in but obviously all that matters is the points so it was disappointing,” said Clifford, who came through the ranks at Roots Hall.

“It was tough to take at the end as well because I thought we looked like we could have grabbed the winner ourselves.

“We went close a couple of times but we just have to make sure we are more organised when attacking.”

Blues were caught out against Oldham after the Latics launched a counter attack following a loose pass from captain Jason Demetriou. Zak Dearnley took full advantage to score and kept the Shrimpers bottom of the League Two table without a single win to their name.

And Clifford felt Mark Molesley’s men were not at their best against Oldham.

“I don’t think we really got going like we did at Tranmere at the weekend,” said the defender.

“We had lots of the ball but they did well to block us getting through them.”

As a result, Clifford’s strike was the Shrimpers’ only goal and the defender’s ability in dead ball situations has been an eye-catching part of his game from an early age.

“It’s something I’ve always practised and loved taking so I am always confident in areas like that,” said Clifford.

“I’ve always been decent at them but it’s just because it’s something I’ve always worked on.

“I kind of always tried to take them like Leighton Baines used to as well.”

That certainly did the trick on Tuesday night.

But Clifford is now setting his sights on Saturday’s match with Port Vale at Roots Hall as Blues bid of a case of lucky 13 having failed to win any of their 12 matches so far this term.

“We are expecting a tough test against Port Vale but we just have to keep going and go into the game with as much confidence as we can,” saida Clifford.

“All the boys are very frustrated but we just have to keep going to try and get those points which will hopefully give us a confident boost.”

But Clifford also received a boost of his own from Blues Molesley who was impressed by the youngster’s fine free-kick.

“It was a fantastic strike from Tom Clifford and he showed great technique,” said Molesley.

“It was a real positive and it really buoyed us. It kicked us on but in our quest to get a winner we left the back door open a little bit and we were cruelly punished.”