Colchester United head coach John McGreal admits he was disappointed with the performance of his side after they were beaten 2-0 at Southend United tonight to bow out of this season’s Checkatrade Trophy.

The U’s made nine changes to their starting line-up for their final Group B game at Roots Hall, which they had to win to progress to the knockout stages of the competition.

But goals from Josh Wright and Theo Robinson condemned Colchester to defeat after they produced a flat performance against their League One opponents.

McGreal said: “It wasn’t good.

“They were players who have played in the first team and it wasn’t a weakened team, as such.

“We’ve asked them to put in a performance but they haven’t been able to do that.

“I was expecting more from the players who were given their opportunity to impress.

“We’ve brought players in who have been in the first team before but they looked off the pace at times with their decisions.

“One or two have put in a good shift but others haven’t.”

Colchester rarely looked like scoring throughout the 90 minutes and the margin of their defeat might have been greater had Simon Cox not missed a late penalty for Southend.

“With their first goal, we’re trying to switch a 60-yard ball when it’s not on and the shot comes in and they get a tap in,” added McGreal.

“We addressed things at half-time but then within a minute, you’re looking for height and distance on your header and you don’t get it and it falls to their lad and they score.

“Your half-time team talk goes out of the window in a way with that bit of ruthlessness.

“To be fair, they squashed us early on and continued to do that until I’d say the last 15 minutes where we made a few subs and players came in who have had good game time of late.

“We just couldn’t get in and around the box and when we did, we didn’t pick the right pass.”