SOUTHEND United’s under-23 team coach Craig Fagan was a frustrated figure following this afternoon's 3-1 defeat at Cambridge United in the Central League Cup.

The Shrimpers had been hoping to build on last week’s 6-0 victory against Forest Green Rovers.

But a slow start left Fagan disappointed at the final whistle.

“It was a disappointing day,” said Fagan.

“It was a mirror image to the game we had with Scunthorpe not so long ago where a poor start cost us.

“We gave away two sloppy, naive goals in the first half and it killed us really.”

Blues did improve after the break with Matt Rush firing home a late consolation.

And Fagan was happier with the second half display.

“We changed the shape in the second half and we were much better but it shouldn’t take a change of system to make people work harder,” said the former Hull City forward.

“Early on we were working as individuals and not as a team but it was frustrating really because we wanted to build on the win we got last week and we haven’t been able to do that.”

However, Fagan was pleased with some of the individual displays.

“Rushy worked hard and got a goal and Jon Benton worked hard too,” said Fagan.

“Isaac Hutchinson always wanted to get on the ball and also worked hard.

“I know he’s still young himself but he’s a first team player and he set a good example with his attitude.

“We were missing a couple of players due to the first team game which makes it difficult but that’s under-23 football and it gave other people an opportunity.”

But centre-back Sam Knock’s opportunity came in an unusual way as he replaced the injured Harry Seaden in goal.

“Harry took a whack for Cambridge’s third goal and actually had his two front teeth knocked out so we had to bring Sam on,” said Fagan.

“But he did well and it showed we were on top by that stage because he didn’t have much to do.”

The clash at Cambridge also saw midfielder Harry Phillips make his first appearance of the season after recovering from injury.

Southend United: Seaden (Knock 86), Howard, Clifford (Unwin 74), Stewart (Phillips 55), Osimeh, Mitchell-Nelson, Benton, Burnett (Brogan 83), Hutchinson, Rush, Kinali (Pianim 46)