Blues boss Mark Molesley was pleased with his side’s performance after going ‘toe-to-toe’ with the league leaders Cambridge and coming away with a 0-0 draw at the Abbey Stadium.
As one of just two games on in the whole of League Two in bitterly cold conditions, Southend limited the U’s to minimal chances and kept the league’s top-scorer Paul Mullin quiet. At the other end, Blues had chances of their own to nick a win but weren’t able to test goalkeeper Callum Burton.
The point though was enough to see Molesley’s side climb out of the relegation zone for the first time since October, and after the full-time whistle in Cambridgeshire, the Southend boss gave us his thoughts on the afternoon’s events.
On the draw…
“I was really pleased with the performance. I think the attitude, the endeavour and the work rate in tough conditions, our second away game in a week and against the team top of the table, was always going to be a tough challenge but think it’s a game where we more than matched them.
“We had a lot of shots but probably didn’t test their ‘keeper enough, but conditions were quite dry and slippery at stages and that final pass, that final shot, we just couldn’t quite get away.
“It was a full action game. We more than matched them and showed the right attitude, work rate and endeavour, and we showed all the fighting characteristics this week that we’re going to need. All we’ve done is given ourselves a platform to continue to build on that.”
On a couple of first-half penalty shouts…
“It was quite a strong [shout for a penalty on Nathaniel-George] – Ash has gone across him and the ref’s either got to do him for diving or it’s a penalty. I don’t know what else he could have come up with. He certainly gave him a clean pair of heels, was in front of him and was pulled back twice by him as well before that, so that was his third foul on him.
“It wasn’t given and we can only control what we can control. I haven’t seen it back again but in the heat of it, you always feel that should have been a penalty. I’ll have to see it again but certainly looked a good shout for one certainly.
“Then, bizarrely, later in the first-half, Simeon’s about to head it on goal and has got volleyed in the head and got the free-kick against him for it. I’m not sure what happened there, when you get kicked in the head and the free-kick goes the other way, but that could have been a penalty.”
On the response shown in the last week…
“The only thing we can focus on is ourselves. I think we are improving very quickly – we have done this week and we needed to. We’ve gone toe-to-toe with the top two teams in the league this week.
“No one was hurting more than us after Port Vale. That was our lowest point of the season and we had to show a lot of character. We’ve been written off a lot this season and we’ve had to get ourselves back off the canvas again.
“We’ve given ourselves a fighting chance again, that’s all we’ve given ourselves, and we’ve got to continue to build on this. This can be a good point if we follow it up, but we’ve got to consistently put results together.
“Four points for a week’s work is good, but we’ve got to continue to build on that and there’s plenty of hard work ahead of us.”