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19 December 2020

Southend boss Mark Molesley said he hopes to look back at this afternoon’s 1-1 draw as a good point as Blues extended their unbeaten run to four matches against Mansfield Town.

The visitors had a stonewall penalty appeal turned down early in the first-half but didn’t let that affect them as James Olayinka fired Southend in front with a superb left-footed strike that found the top corner of Marek Stech’s goal.

Mansfield though would grab a leveller with 11 minutes remaining through Jordan Bowery as The Stags prevented Blues from picking up a third straight win, and after the full-time whistle had gone at the One Call Stadium, Molesley gave us his thoughts on the draw.

On a point at Mansfield…

“It’s a tough one really as we were 1-0 up and we’ve defended so well for large periods of the game. We can try and call it football but you can see the conditions out there, there wasn’t much football being played. It was about being organised, resolute, doing the dirtier side of the game all day.

“We went a little bit sloppy in one area, a free-kick against Greg Halford for I don’t know what, they’ve delivered in our box and we’ve not recovered well on that one and it’s ricocheted and fell to their guy.

“It was a tough, battling performance and again, I have to praise the boys who’ve shown all the credentials we need for this fight in really tough conditions. If we had any rain it would have got called off straight away, it was wet, soddy, muddy, it was like a cabbage patch out there. I thought the boys showed that resilience.”

On Olayinka’s goal and not being able to hold on…

“I thought it was a well-worked goal from us and we got our lead.

“Away from home, a tough place to come in tough conditions, we couldn’t be as free-flowing as we liked [after the goal] – the pitch wouldn’t allow that – so we had to be strong and resolute which I thought we were for large periods of the game.

“Like I said, one sloppy moment cost us which is bitterly disappointing, but it’s a point. It’s not a loss and we’re still building on what we’re doing here. I was pleased with the lads’ attitude and endeavour, and they’ve shown they’re up for the fight.”

On the penalty shout…

“[It was] more than a shout. It’s the biggest stonewaller you’ll ever see.

“I’m going to have to laugh otherwise you might cry because I’ve seen it back again and the referee today…it’s probably not worth me speaking about because I don’t want to get in any trouble.

“We’ve all have bad games and the referee I’m sure won’t think this is his finest one.”

On injuries and those close to coming back…

“McCormack’s calf went a little bit and we hope that’s not too serious. We know with Simeon [Akinola] the pitch was energy-sapping, and it showed we had a lot more on the bench so we used all five subs. Everyone’s played their part one what we’ll hopefully look back on as a good point.

“[Clifford’s] was a bit of a nasty one. He’s almost trod down the back of his ankle and he’s hit a nerve. He’s in a boot as a precaution and we’ll have to assess that a bit further after the weekend once it’s settled down.

“We’ve been buoyed by a lot of things happening: players coming back, and hopefully we’ll get a clean bill of health from this game – we’ll check Clifford and McCormack – but we’ve got White and Demetriou to come back in on Boxing Day, which is good news.

“Brandon [Goodship] is getting a CT scan on his ribs, but the group is in a good place. There’s a good feel, a good atmosphere around it but the thing that builds that is wins and going undefeated. We’ll lick our wounds a little bit and we’ll hopefully reflect on this and it’ll be a good point.”

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