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26 December 2021

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Kevin Maher was delighted with his side’s performance this evening against high-flying Bromley and felt that Blues were deserving of more than a point after their 1-1 draw at Hayes Lane.

The Ravens’ top-scorer, Michael Cheek put the home side in front in the 65th minute with a flicked header but Southend showed great resolve to respond almost immediately with Matthew Dennis scoring his second in as many games to level matters just two minutes later.

And with Blues having a string of opportunities late on to turn that one point into three, the Southend boss felt his side wouldn’t have been undeserving of the spoils had they managed to nick themselves a winner.

“I think our performance certainly warranted it [three points],” said Maher following the full-time whistle on Boxing Day.

“First-half, I thought we were in control of the game, played a lot in their half and got in some good positions without having that end product. I was very pleased first-half how we played.

“We knew we were going to have to deal with balls coming in our box – long-throws and set-pieces – and I think we stood up to that very well. Second-half we had chances to win it.”

After a goalless first-half, Blues had a flurry of opportunities after the interval to take the lead but were unable to do so, and they were duly punished by Michael Cheek’s 14th goal of the campaign.

But Maher wasn’t concerned after his side had fallen behind, despite the numbers of chances they’d spurned, and he praised the character of his team for turning things around so quickly.

“I wasn’t massively worried; I was disappointed, but it was another test of character.

“It’s easy to come here and go under but we didn’t, and to get a goal so quickly was important, and it was a brilliant goal as well – Dalby does brilliant and it’s a great finish from Matty – so I’m really pleased with the reaction and it’s no more than we deserved.”

After scoring the winner against Dorking Wanderers in the Buildbase FA Trophy last weekend, Matthew Dennis made in two-in-two with today’s equaliser.

The on-loan Norwich forward has seen his playing time limited since Maher arrived at the club, but he made the most of his first start under the Blues boss, with his performance giving Maher something to think about in the coming weeks.

“I’m delighted for Matty. As I said last time, he probably hasn’t had enough chances, but he’s taken his chance brilliantly tonight and it was a good finish.

“Centre forwards scoring goals is always good. Dalby has done brilliantly; Murphy’s been our top-scorer and has been brilliant for us, so it takes a bit of a load off them as they’ve been working their socks off playing every week.

“I’m really pleased with Matty and it adds competition.”

Southend now have less than 48 hours to prepare for their next National League clash with Barnet the vistors to Roots Hall on Tuesday afternoon.

The Bees’ Boxing Day game with Boreham Wood was called off today due to COVID in the Wood camp, meaning they’ll be well-rested for their visit to Essex, but Maher said his side will be ‘ready’ despite the quick turnaround.

“We’ve got to patch people up, it’s less than 48 hours [until the Barnet game]. Barnet have almost 10 days off now and we’ve got to patch them up and get a team out that’s ready to go again.

“We’ll be ready and whoever goes out there knows that when they pull on the shirt they’ve got to run for the team.”

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