They may have been hard done by, according to Southend assistant manager Dave Penney, but he and his team remain confident they can turn this tie around and reach the League Two play-off final.
Burton will take a one-goal lead into Saturday’s second leg after Adam McGurk struck shortly before half-time in at times terrible conditions at the Pirelli Stadium.
Albion had defender Ian Sharps sent off after an hour for two yellow cards – he will miss the second semi and the final should Burton get there – but the Essex men were unable to make their numerical advantage count, failing to trouble home goalkeeper Dean Lyness until the 87th minute when he blocked a shot from Ryan Leonard.
Earlier, Lyness had made a couple of good saves to deny Will Atkinson when the game was goalless. Despite the deficit, Penney insists his team can come up trumps at Roots Hall in the return match. “We’re disappointed not to have got something from the game because we felt we were the better team,” he claimed.
“The sending-off gave us 30 minutes to try to get something but we didn’t really get that bit of luck we needed. We’ve seen how tough it can be to break teams down once they go down to 10 men.
“A few balls didn’t fall our way but we can’t be too down. It is half-time in the tie and there’s still all to play for.”