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Powell: "I’m very proud of them this evening"

9 February 2019

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Blues boss Chris Powell said he was “very proud” of his side for battling to a 1-1 draw away at Charlton Athletic despite playing over an hour with 10 men.

Stephen Humphrys’ deflected effort had given Southend the lead before Dru Yearwood saw a straight red card for a foul on Jonny Williams before the half-hour mark.

Ben Reeves levelled for the Addicks in the second-half but Blues held on for a vital point and after the game the Southend, and former Charlton, gaffer gave us his thoughts.

On the draw…

It almost feels like a win. It’s been very tough for us, we know that; a bit of soul-searching from me and with the group, and we knew we’d be in for a very difficult game.

When I walked out to start the game and I saw our supporters and I thought this is a proper game today. The support from them drove the team on, it really did.

A lot of things transpired to go against us today, but we hung in there, scored a great goal – Steve actually didn’t realise he’d scored – and it edged us in front, and we felt we needed to keep going.

I felt we were positive but then, of course, the big turning point was Dru’s sending off and then all of a sudden we’re into rear-guard action and everyone played their part. We played a good team, we understand that, but a point for us in our present situation is very good.

For a team that doesn’t draw, it’s a really worthy point for everyone who played their part today and that’s supporters included because it’s been tough for them as well. We have to go again on Tuesday, but I’m very proud of them this evening.

On Yearwood’s sending off…

He does slip, but it looks bad. I’ve seen it again – I’m not going to stand here saying I haven’t seen it because every manager sees it, don’t worry about that – but it looks bad.

My only argument would be that we had two [challenges] on our players, on Michael Kightly and Timothee Dieng, which I was told because they were low it doesn’t matter. But I’m sure you can break your leg whether it’s high or low; that would be my only comeback.

It’s a tough game, they want to have the momentum and the ascendency and we had to play like an away team, we had to dig in and block crosses. Nathan Bishop made two excellent saves from a long-range shot and a header, and I thought to a man they drove each other on.

On Tuesday’s trip to Doncaster…

We quite like playing away from home, whether that’s because the pressure is on the home side and we can be resilient, break and counter attack, but I think every player can say to themselves that we can earn points at this level.

We’ve found it tough at times, but with 15 games to go we have to put in performances like we did today. We want to do that more at home, but our next game is away at Doncaster and we have to put in another performance similar to today 

We’ll do our best to keep 11 on the pitch, that’s for certain, but without a doubt the players know that they have enough quality and they have enough physically and mentally to produce performances like that on a more regular basis and that’s been our issue.

I have to change the team yet again, but we’ll deal with that and I think the supporters can see that the players played for the shirt today; we didn’t last week, but certainly we did today, and that’s all the supporters ever want to see.

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