Mark Molesley was pleased with another battling performance from his Southend side as they ground out a 0-0 draw against Stevenage in a game where Blues also had chances to win it.
Neither side could find the breakthrough with both starting in the relegation zone, with Brandon Goodshop and Richard Taylor having good chances in the first-half, before a flurry of opportunities came and went late in the second-half for the visiting Blues.
Stevenage went closest when Tyrone Marsh rattled the crossbar early after the restart, but both sides had to settle for a point apiece in front of 1,500 Stevenage supporters as fans returned to football. And after full-time, Molesley gave us his assessment of the afternoon.
On the draw at Stevenage…
“I think under the circumstances [it was a good point].
“You can do the maths of how many players are missing at the moment, and Tom Clifford coming off in the first-half was another blow as he was involved in a lot of our set-plays, so that was difficult and I thought Harry Kyprianou done really well when he come on.
“Clifford took it to 10 players unavailable when he come off, which isn’t quite as bad as Forest Green, which was 12. So under the circumstances, the endeavour, the determination of the group - they’re the things we’re looking for at the moment in the position we’re in.
“It’s hard to build a philosophy at the moment when there’s so much change and so much upheaval in the team. We lost John White late and we’d prepped with him and then he comes out the team, and then Clifford coming off early. It’s difficult because we’ve not been able to have any momentum with team selection and players being available. What we can say is this group is working hard, digging in and they’re showing the characteristics needed for the fight.”
On having the chances to win it…
“Unfortunately, that has been the story of our season. We haven’t punished teams and in a tight affair with a lot riding on the game, it’s a good battling performance from both teams. It wasn’t one for the purists but at the moment it’s about showing the fight and the endeavour which we certainly showed.
“On reflection of the chances we had the gilt-edged ones. I don’t think Oxley had a save to make. They did deflect one that hit the bar and had a couple of corners, so they had the pressure, but the actual clear-cut chances [were ours].
“Their keeper’s made a great save in the first-half and in the second-half we had some real good chances in the end there where you’re just thinking, we need to be putting them away to climb up the table. We’re well aware of that, but we’ll be working hard to fix that.”
On the absent White and Sterling, and Clifford’s injury…
“We’re hoping it’s short term [for John White]; it’s more of a grade one. It’s going to be tricky to tell at the moment whether he’s going to make it next Saturday. If it’s not next Saturday, we’re hoping it’ll be the following Saturday.
“Clifford was a nasty impact one just above his knee which really locked up like a dead leg. Dead legs are funny ones – you’ve got to be careful with them as they can cause a lot of problems if you don’t rest them properly. We’re just hoping it’s more a knock and that might, later on in the week, settle.
“Unfortunately [Sterling] picked up a slight groin strain as well and has added to that long list. We have a few others out there, playing 90 minutes with knocks and other bits just due to numbers at the moment.
“I was so pleased with the battling qualities that we showed today. In an ideal world, a lot of the other players wouldn’t be playing 90 minutes, but it’s not an ideal world. A clean sheet is something to build on and we move on.”