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League Two

Southend United can build on this - Phil Brown

9 August 2014

Phil Brown is confident his promotion favourites Southend United will get better after their opening day victory over Accrington Stanley.

Southend sub Lee Barnard scored the only goal from the penalty spot in the 85th minute after Dean Winnard was judged to have brought him down.

But it was a tale of two penalties after Barry Corr had a 46th spot-kick saved by teenage goalkeeper Luke Simpson, following Winnard's foul on Shaquille Coulthirst.

"Some players need four or five games to get into their rhythm and the first game is about mentality," said Brown.

"It was difficult, it is never an easy game to come here but in the first game it's all-important to get that win and we cannot be too disappointed.

"I think if we had scored earlier it could have been two or three but you do start to wonder once you have had a penalty saved and as time goes on.

"But the referee (Andy Haines) got both penalties spot on and we did have a go and I think the substitutes changed the game for us.

"The likes of Lee (Barnard) have now staked a claim for a starting place and everyone will get their chance. We can build on this."

Stanley keeper Luke Simpson, 19, was making his Football League debut and it could have been a perfect start except for the late penalty.

Southend were thwarted by Simpson in the first half as he kept out Ben Coker and Ryan Leonard's long range strikes. He also finger-tipped over Myles Weston's goalbound strike in a one-on-one situation in the first half.

Then came the first penalty which Corr fired straight down the middle at Simpson before substitute Barnard stood up late on to take the second and sent the keeper the wrong way.

"He is young and he is learning and was out to impress me, his team-mates and the fans and it was close to a dream debut," said Stanley manager James Beattie.

Southend did not have it all their all own way though. As early as the second minute Stanley striker James Gray's deflected strike crashed against the woodwork.

And Josh Windass wasn't too far away with a 30-yard chip on the stroke of half-time which was just over Dan Bentley's crossbar.

Windass, son of Hull legend Dean, also came close midway through the second half volleying narrowly over.

"Southend didn't look like scoring from open play all day as we were resilient but for two seconds in the second half," Beattie added.

"Some of our flair players weren't at the races against Southend - they have been fantastic in pre-season and we showed our defensive qualities but not going forward even though we created a few chances.

"There are positives to take from this though as I know what we have got here and we won't get too disappointed and will bounce back."

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