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Reaction: Campbell full of praise for young side despite Gills defeat

18 February 2020

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Connor Ogilvie’s thunderous header midway through the second half was enough to condemn Southend to a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Gillingham at Roots Hall.

The full-back got on the end of a Jordan Roberts cross to power the ball home with his head from a matter of yards out, extending Gillingham’s unbeaten league run to 14-matches.

Defeat extended Southend’s losing run to four-matches but afterwards, boss Sol Campbell was still full of praise for his young side who’d showed a lot of character despite coming out second best.

On the character shown…

For me, the lads have played fantastic and they put a fantastic shift in. They’re a very physical side, Gillingham, always turning the ball over into our backline and into the space behind our back four and we stood up to the challenge.

Some of our young players played really well and they showed some character which was nice to see. In the end, we were a little bit unlucky.

Then we get the chance to equalise but we don’t finish it off so it’s just one of those days. The lads played really well, and under all that pressure they stood up to the challenge and it was nice to see that bit of character.

On Rush’s late chance and Seaden’s debut...

[Matt Rush] is a fantastic finisher and he’s probably thinking to himself, ‘I should have at least made the keeper work from that position’. I can’t fault the effort from the lads, they run their socks off.

They worked and hustled and tried to make things happen; tried to play a bit of football as well. It’s just coming down to moments with us anyway.

[Harry Seaden] done really well. He’s 18 years old, he’s starting his career and he stood up to the challenge, made some good decisions and we’re happy he’s here. If he wasn’t here we’d probably be playing a 16-year-old.

On trying to look forward…

The main thing for us performance-wise is we have to set our stall out and make sure we’re difficult to beat. We are weaker all over the pitch, so we’ve got to work harder than most teams because we have a lot of youngsters playing who have the energy but need to work on the positioning.

Sometimes their energy and youth gets them through games, but games like this you just need a little bit of nous about you and they haven’t got that – they will have that in time but we haven’t got that time at the moment.

We’ve just got to keep probing and trying to do the right things, and hopefully one of these games we can come away with a win or a draw. We had a chance to do that today, but it didn’t happen, but I can’t fault the effort for the lads.

We’ve just got to keep it going. We’re professional footballers, we’ve got to work on the training field and try and get a result going forward. I just want the guys to play some good football, work hard, play for the fans and see if we can get some wins under our belt.

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