Blues boss Phil Brown offered to buy all 472 travelling Southend fans a pint after watching his side pull off a smash and grab 2-0 win at Oxford United.
Second half goals from Marc-Antoine Fortune and Theo Robinson – his first since his return to the club – were enough to give Southend a vital win off the back of Saturday’s defeat to Millwall.
Brown felt that his side “weren’t at the races” for the opening half an hour against an in-form Oxford side, but felt that once his side got used to the conditions the first goal would be vital.
“The first 30-35 minutes we weren’t at the races,” said the Blues gaffer.
“You can put it down to not making any changes [from Millwall] other than one enforced change because of Will Atkinson, but I don’t think Michael [Appleton] made any changes either.
“There was no excuse fatigue wise, it was just we were playing the wrong way. We got sucked into the Kassam surface, we thought that it would be a good place to play football on but it wasn’t.
“It was just learning to play the conditions tonight and when we got to grips with that I honestly thought the first goal would win the game.
“They hit the post and we rode our luck from a set piece but we defended resolutely and the quality of the play in the final third in the second half when the game opened up was the difference between the two teams.”
Oxford were much the better side in the opening exchanges and were getting plenty of joy down the Southend right with Jermaine McGlashan and Jason Demetriou struggling to contain the U’s.
But after Brown switched McGlashan over to the left with Michael Timlin coming over to the right, the balance of play shifted and Southend began to grab a foothold in the game.
Brown felt that the switch was a turning point in the game, saying “I think it was vital.”
“I looked at the two full backs and I thought the left back was more influential than their right back and consequently we put [Jermaine] McGlashan over the right side.
“Not to stop them from playing but to get at them as well. But when we did switch them across, Michael [Timlin] did the job that Will Atkinson normally does for us and he becomes that player that closes the full back down.
“That seemed to work for us after 25-30 minutes and we got a foothold in the game. Up until that 25-30 minute mark we were nowhere near and rightly so.
“They’re a form team and we’re a form team and something had to give tonight and I thought it was the first goal that made the difference.”
The Blues boss was overjoyed with the three points and a clean sheet, but he was delighted for the fans that made the midweek trip on Valentine’s Day.
After Saturday’s defeat to Millwall, Brown was concerned that none of the fans would show up to Oxford. But following the win he offered to get a round in for the 472 Blues in attendance.
“I didn’t think they [the fans] would turn up because of that on Saturday. The 1-0 defeat deflated everybody. We looked at it, we analysed it and we deserved something from that game.
“Could it have been our bubble burst? Well, we had to blow another one up and we started to do that tonight.
“Every punter that turned up tonight, I’d like to buy them a pint. It’s great to see them on a Tuesday night. It’s a nice night, it’s a great stadium.
“It’s a great place to come and play some football, but it’s a great place to win.”