Southend boss Mark Molesley was delighted to have seen his side deliver a belated Christmas present to Blues fans as his side comfortably beat near-neighbours Colchester United 2-0 at Roots Hall on Boxing Day.
Simeon Akinola popped up to score his first in a Blues jersey after just 10 minutes when he headed in Sam Hart’s free-kick before Timothee Dieng finished off a superb run from Kyle Taylor to double Southend’s advantage and extend their unbeaten run to five matches.
And after the full-time whistle had blown on the latest Essex Derby, Molesley gave us his thoughts on the victory as well as the two goal scorers.
On the Christmas three points…
“That was the message before the game, to deliver a Christmas present for our fans. It’s tough times out there at the moment and we’ve sorely missed them. They showed what a difference they made [against Scunthorpe and Grimsby] and we knew they’d be watching us today, and we really wanted to give them something to cheer about.
“Anyone who watched that game would have seen that we were willing to die out there for the three points, and I thought the lad’s attitude, work-rate and endeavour were second-to-none, which it needs to be in a derby.
“I’ve been really impressed with Colchester when we’ve watched them. They’re a really good side and play some lovely football. They have some really good players who receive the ball in the pockets well, they turn, and they’re well-drilled. We knew it was going to be a really tough game, but we covered some ground out there today.”
On extending the unbeaten run…
“That was again down to the player’s mentality. You can see in the group that they’re growing in confidence, they’re growing in belief. We haven’t done anything; we’ve performed well and shown again that we’re up for the fight and we’ve got the attributes. That’s all we’ve done; we’ve shown we’ve got potential but we’ve got keep repeating this now.
“Five games unbeaten shows that we’re starting to get a little bit more consistency and confidence, but this game bites you on the bum very quickly.
“The pleasing thing is we’ve had a lot of players out today. The influential McCormack never made it; James Olayinka, who scored that great goal [against Mansfield], ends up missing and it just shows you the players dropping in.
“I don’t like pointing people out by Ashley Nathaniel-George: he ended up missing three weeks cause of Covid which is a long period out, and we were only just getting him up to speed. I’m sure anyone that would have seen it would have enjoyed that performance with his creative side but also the shift he put in after being out for so long I thought was magnificent.”
On goals for Sim and Tim…
“Again, a real positive today, Simeon starting. Everyone sees how he sprints and jumps and gets on the ball. He’s got everything we need, and he showed that with his goal. A well-taken set-play and duly dispatched by Simeon to get his first goal.
“It was great for him to get off and running, and then I thought the second goal was well-worked. A good regain from us, Kyle Taylor drove and dropped a couple of shoulders, and a great run from Timothee Dieng.
“He’s another one that’s dropped into defence, played in midfield, played up top – he’s played everywhere for us. He was at the heart of all of our great defending the last few games and our clean sheets, and the points where he played such an influential role in defence, and then he’s popped up with a great goal as we’ve moved him further up.
“It was a good day at the office for us today, but that’s all it is – the hard work continues. We’re still not at our best, we’ve still got plenty to work on but what I can say is the lads are up for the challenge.”