JOHN Coleman says his players will have to work hard on their finishing skills after failure to convert a hatful of chances cost them victory at Southend.

And the Reds boss refused to say his team had been unlucky and simply said players have got to get better - especially in front of goal.

Stanley created five clear goal scoring chances in the opening 20 minutes before Southend converted their first chance that came along.

“The harsh reality is, if you don’t put your chances away then you will get punished,” said Coleman. “There is no point bleating about it, complaining about it. We have just got to get better at finishing.

“I don’t think the scoreline reflected the play, I don’t think it reflected how the game went. But that is football, you don’t always get what you deserve.

“But we are in this mode at the moment where the ball won’t go in the net and it will go quite easily in to our net. First two attacks go in our goal, two good saves from Connor (Ripley) and the ball fell to their lad, it didn’t fall to ours. We could have been 4-0 up by then.”

He added: “I think even the most ardent Southend fan would say they only area where they were better than us was finishing.

“It certainly wasn’t defending. We created 10 or 12 clear cut chances. How they kept a clean sheet I don’t know. Sometimes you are better to be born lucky to be born with skill.

“Fair play to them, they did throw their bodies on the line. They cleared four or five off the line so they defended well when they had to but when you create 12 clear cut chances you can’t say they defended well.

“You can’t say we defended well. The chances they had at the end was very much because we were throwing everyone forward.

“Their third goal was the killer. I think even with five minutes to go and 2-0 down we were still in the game.

“We were having that much domination and making that many chances but when you give away a soft goal like we did, the lad has finished it great, but we have to take responsibility for that.

“We have got to work harder on our finishing and then turn our superiority in the way we play the game in to goals and if you turn that in to goals you will win games.”

Despite creating chances, Coleman said his side’s failure to hit the target was a cause for concern.

“They haven’t had to make many saves and that is the problem,” Coleman told the club website. “We are not hitting the target, Billy (Kee) puts one over the bar after a minute, Ossie (Offrande Zanzala) puts one in to the side netting, Sam (Finley) bends one wide and that was all within the first 15 minutes.

“They go 1-0 up, Michael Ihiekwe heads a clear header over the bar. So our first five chances in the first 20 minutes we haven’t hit the target. If you hit the target then you have got a chance.”