ANDY Whing put Oxford United’s 2-0 defeat against Southend United down to a lack of belief after conceding the opening goal.

The hosts had made a bright start, but after failing to convert it into a lead they fell behind against the run of play when debutant goalkeeper Connor Ripley let in Ryan Hall’s free-kick.

It rocked United, who conceded a crucial second goal before regaining their composure shortly before the interval.

Whing, named the supporters’ player of the year before kick-off, was bitterly disappointed with the result, but felt the U’s inability to respond was rooted in their recent poor run of results.

He said: “I wouldn’t say we panicked, I just think we felt a bit sorry for ourselves, to be honest.

“It was a carbon copy of what’s happened in the last few weeks – we’ve had a few chances, not scored, then they’ve nicked a goal from a mistake.

“We produced a better performance in the second half, but it was too late.”

He added: “We haven’t scored enough goals lately and because we’re getting a bit frustrated we’re conceding at the other end.

“That’s pretty much how it’s gone the last six games.

“We didn’t play badly (against Southend), we haven’t played badly in the last six games, so it’s very frustrating really.”

United have one final opportunity to get back into the play-off positions on the last day of the season this weekend, but the odds are stacked against them.

Chris Wilder’s side must now beat Port Vale on Saturday and hope Aldershot – who have nothing to play for – do them a favour by winning at a Crewe Alexandra side who have gone 15 games without defeat.

Whing said: “We’ve still got a slim chance, there’s no pressure on us so we’ve just got to go and win next week.

“We’ll take a few fans, Port Vale haven’t really got anything to play for and Aldershot will have a good go at Crewe, so anything can happen.”