SOUTHEND United brushed aside Dagenham and Redbridge 3-1 in the second round of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy at Victoria Road tonight.

Ryan Hall bagged a brilliant brace and was joined on the score-sheet by striker Neil Harris.

But Blues could have secured a more convincing victory had Hall not failed to convert a second half spot-kick.

Southend also wasted other opportunities to score and were on top early on with Michael Timlin firing wide of the left post inside the opening minute of the match.

Moments later, a deep Peter Gilbert free-kick was missed by Daggers goalkeeper Chris Lewington who clattered in to Bilel Mohsni ,however, referee Keith Stroud ignored Southend’s shouts for a penalty and instead opted to wave play on.

Blues remained on top, forcing four corners inside the opening 11 minutes and again came close to scoring when Anthony Grant blasted inches past the right post from 25 yards.

But, having weathered the early Southend storm, Dagenham began to work their way in to the game and it was their turn to almost open the scoring in the 22nd minute when Brian Woodall’s powerful header from Gavin Tomlin’s left wing corner was nodded off the goal-line by Sean Clohessy.

Southend hit back with the recalled Hall sending a curling 20 yard shot over the crossbar but, on the half hour mark, the winger fared far better as he grabbed the game’s opening goal.

It was an impressive effort too as Hall superbly controlled a quickly taken right wing throw from Ryan Leonard with his knee before volleying a low shot in to the back of the net from eight yards.

Following Hall’s opener, Leonard fizzed a powerful 25 yard shot over the crossbar after a short free-kick from Grant and, in the 50th minute, Blues wasted an even greater chance to double their lead when Hall saw a penalty saved by Lewington.

The spot-kick was awarded after Leonard was hauled to the floor by Damien McCrory as he attempted to fire home the rebound from a well struck Hall shot which was parried out by Lewington.

But Hall was unable to convert the penalty which was well saved to his right hand side by the Dagenham shot-stopper.

Two minutes after the wasted penalty, Blues were forced in to their first change of the evening with Harris replacing the injured Grant.

However, Daggers stood firm and drew back level in the 66th minute when a deflected left footed free-kick from McCrory wrong-footed Blues goalkeeper Glenn Morris and nestled in to the left hand side of the goal.

The strike was the first Southend had conceded in more than 400 minutes of football but Paul Sturrock’s side almost regained the lead just three minutes later when Harris’ header from Clohessy’s right wing cross was superbly saved low to his left hand side by Lewington.

The let off was only temporary though as the keeper was beaten again in the 74th minute as Hall brilliantly bagged his second goal of the evening.

The winger regained his balance after slipping on the edge of the penalty area and impressively worked his way past two men with a drag back before blasting the ball in to the bottom right hand corner of the net from 12 yards.

Harris then completed the scoring and his side's passage in to the third round by stroking the ball in to the back of the net from close range after seeing his first shot parried out by Lewington in the dying seconds of the game.