SOUTHEND United skipper Nathan Ralph felt the Shrimpers contributed to their own downfall against Hampton & Richmond.

Blues were beaten 4-2 on penalties by their National League South opponents after drawing 2-2 in normal time.

And Ralph was disappointed with the defending which led to the home-side letting slip a two goal lead.

“We’re disappointed to concede two late goals in the manner we did,” said Ralph.

“I thought we controlled most of the game to be honest but they’re flying at the moment.

“They’ve not lost for a while and when it’s like that things go your way.

“I think that was the case today and it’s disappointing but we’ll look at it again on Monday.”

Prior to the poor defending, the Shrimpers had seemed well set to progress into the fourth road.

And it was Ralph who put them in front with a well-taken header.

“I said before the game I was due a goal, especially a header with the amount of times I go up for a set piece,” said Ralph.

“It was nice to score but obviously it’s always the result that matters most.”

Jack Bridge joined Ralph on the score-sheet with a well-taken penalty.

But the Shrimpers were denied more goals by impressive Hampton & Richmond goalkeeper Adam Desbois.

And Ralph was among those to praise the visiting shot-stopper’s performance.

“He had a great game and made some really good saves,” said Ralph.

“He made some good saves with the penalties as well and it just wasn’t meant to be for us today but we’ll go again.”

Desbois kept out penalties from Jack Wood and Wes Fonguck to ensure defeat for the Shrimpers.

But Ralph stressed no blame was placed upon the shoulders of those failing to score from 12 yards.

“Woody’s disappointed but fair play he’s a young lad stepping forward to take the first penalty,” said Ralph.

“There’s no shame in missing a penalty.”

However, the Shrimpers will now be focusing solely on the National League, starting with Saturday’s clash against second placed Bromley at Roots Hall.

“The league is the main focus and we look forward to Saturday now,” said Ralph.

“It feels like a while since we’ve played in the league so it will be nice, especially with it being back at home as well.”