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20 February 2021

Southend boss Mark Molesley was left frustrated as his Blues side fell to a narrow 1-0 defeat thanks to a ‘freak’ goal from Bolton Wanderers’ Shaun Miller at Roots Hall.

After a first-half in which Bolton looked threatening but were unable to break through, Southend responded well and looked the more likely to grab a winner before Miller tapped in from close range after the ball appeared to go behind Mark Oxley’s goal but came back in off the crossbar.

Blues though remain outside the relegation zone thanks to Barrow’s defeat to Morecambe, but after the game, Molesley gave us his thoughts on the match-winner and what he described as ‘another opportunity missed’ to put daylight between them and the bottom two.

On the freak Bolton goal…

“I think I saw a goal like that about 14 years ago. There was a shout that it had gone off the pitch, but it’s held up in the wind and hit the back of the crossbar, and somehow spun out and come round. From our point of view, we thought it was off. There was a shout for it being off as well and it was just a real freak moment.

“In the second-half I thought we were really solid. I didn’t think we looked like conceding whatsoever and it’s taken an absolute freak moment [for Bolton to score]. It’s flown over the crossbar and somehow spun back in off the top of the crossbar, and their guy has done well to turn it home. He must have thought all his Christmases had come at once.

“It’s easy to say don’t switch off and make sure the referee has blown, but we just momentarily switched off for a split second because it was sailing over the crossbar. Somehow, it held up in the wind and spun back off the crossbar. Until that whistle is blown, you’ve got to be alive and alert to it and we weren’t. It was the only time in the game where we weren’t alert and alive to something, and we’ve been cruelly punished today. It’s a cruel game.”

On a missed opportunity to pick up points…

“We are well aware it was another opportunity missed but it wasn’t through a lack of effort.

“We’ve defended really well today and we haven’t given up anything, and Bolton are a good side. I felt in the second-half we were the team that was going to finish the game in the ascendency. We’ve got substitutions to bring on to bring a bit of fresh energy and I felt we were going to do that.

“The goal was a real killer blow for us.”

On Ricky Holmes’ debut and having the squad to get out of trouble…

“I thought [Holmes] done well. He hustled and bustled, broke in their box a few times, but the ball wouldn’t quite fall for us.

“The game’s been decided in a freak moment. It’s painful and it’s hurting now but we’re just going to have to dust ourselves down and get going again. We can’t feel sorry for ourselves; we’ve got to keep going and we’ve got another big game on Wednesday.

“You saw that out there today, we’re definitely battling and in the game. We haven’t been outplayed by three very good sides in the last week, by any stretch of the imagination. We’re disappointed we haven’t got anything out of the game today that I felt that we deserved.

“The next game is always the biggest and we’re aware of where we are and what we need to do. We need to come out fighting on Wednesday.”

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