Phil Brown was delighted to have picked up his first win of his second spell in charge of Southend United with the 2-1 victory against Leyton Orient keeping Blues’ survival hopes alive.
After Tyler Cordner had headed Southend in front, Louis Dennis equalised in first-half stoppage time to ensure the sides went into the break level. But with a quarter of an hour remaining, Matt Rush popped up to score his first senior goal to secure a vital three points for Southend.
And with Barrow losing at Tranmere, it meant Blues were safe for now, although a win for Barrow on Tuesday against Forest Green would be enough to send Southend down. Regardless, the Blues boss was all smiles after the game and gave us his thoughts on the afternoon.
On that first win…
“I’ve had some good times here in the five years I was here before and can you reproduce that? Can you change things overnight? Not really when you inherit somebody else’s team, and not just somebody else’s team but there have been three or four regimes that have been in charge since I left the club.
“Everyone after two weeks or me being here knows exactly what I want. It’s not just winning games, it’s how we win games, it’s how we approach games and how we try and nullify what the opposition are good at.
“They’re a good side. I’ve been more than impressed with some of the video footage I was facing before the game, thinking they’ve got threats all across the field of play and they’re playing with confidence. So we had our work cut out, but I think they did it with an unbelievable passion and desire.”
On the match-winner, Rush…
“I’ve got to take my hat off to Ricky Duncan and Craig Fagan, they were forcing me to get Rushy [Matt Rush] on the bench.
“What I’d seen in training was ok, but I was thinking we had more experienced players that could do that impact from the bench. But they haven’t really impacted any game, they haven’t really grabbed a hold of me in training.
“What Rushy did yesterday in training, I walked across and watched him train and he was the best player on the park, and that was the reason why he was on the bench, that’s the reason he was on the field and that’s the reason he got the winning goal.
“Every credit to my backroom staff for forcing the issue where that’s concerned and every credit to me for playing him.”
On the pre-match protests…
“You can use that as a platform if you want to, it depends on how you see it. I see it in a different way to the protests; I use it as an energy.
“There’s a lot of support at this football club. There’s a lot of people outside of the ground today that care for the football club, but they have to see if they watched the performance today they’ll see there’s a lot of people inside the ground that care for the football club.
“That came to the party and was on show today from minute one. I was disappointed with their goal and the timing of it. I wanted to go in at half-time to have a right go at the players because they were 1-0 up.
“When it went 1-1 I went after everybody. We couldn’t lie down second-half, it just wasn’t part of the bargain, and I don’t think we did. I think the players were outstanding, the subs were outstanding, the young lads were brilliant and anybody that needed to come to the party certainly did.”
On Barrow’s game on Tuesday…
“I’ll be at the game. I’ve said it all along if we can take it to the last game, and after Tuesday night that might be in our hands. We’re relying on a Barrow performance and, more importantly, we’re relying on a Forest Green performance.
“I looked at the league table today for the first time at the top end of the division to see how important it is and it’s vitally important to [Forest Green] that they win the game. It’s not for our sake, it’s for their sake.
“One of my best mates in the game is assistant manager at Barrow…I’ve been to see Barrow play and I know what they’re like. They’re a hardened northern team and they don’t suffer fools, and they won’t lie down by any stretch of the imagination.
“It’s a big ask and we’ve got expect that Forest Green are professional and that they play the game to win, which I’m not doubting in the slightest. But I know Barrow will be doing the same, so we’re in the lap of the gods. If we can take it to Barrow, we beat them at their place and go into the last game then, I tell you, football is a strange game.”