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19 January 2021

Mark Molesley was disappointed that two uncharacteristic errors from Blues resulted in a 2-1 defeat at home to Cambridge United this evening at Roots Hall.

Southend side had gone in front midway through the first-half when Simeon Akinola nodded in his second Blues goal, but strikes from Jack Iredale inside the first minute of the second-half and a tap in from Joe Ironside helped the visitors climb to the top of the League Two table.

After the full-time whistle at a blustery Roots Hall, the Southend boss spoke to the press to give his thoughts on the defeat as well as updating us on the injury status of on-loan Arsenal midfielder, James Olayinka.

On a game of two halves…

“It was quite a scruffy battle. First-half I thought we asked a lot of questions and we put a lot of balls in the box. We only got the one goal and maybe with a bit of wind assistance, we were unlucky not to get a couple more. We were slightly on top in the first-half and then they flipped it and put us under pressure with some aerial balls in our box.

“But, again, we momentarily switched off for their two goals and that’s the frustrating thing. We’ve got a bit disorganised in two areas and it’s cost us. Cambridge are at the top of the league because they punish teams and two or three times we went a little bit sloppy, got our distances a little bit wrong and our body shape, and we got punished for it.

“There wasn’t too much between the teams apart from that – Sim [Akinola] has hit the post second-half. We’re bitterly disappointed but we’re hard on ourselves and we need to show a bit more quality and a bit more guile at times because on the ball we wasted it too many times.

On the goal right after half-time…

“We’ve got to defend that better and that put their tails up straight away.

“We had a strong first-half and we were asking a lot of questions. There were goal-mouth scrambles, Sim went one-on-one through to the keeper and he made some good saves. In the second-half, it was always going to be a battle.

“They had a bit more wind and they asked a couple of questions and unfortunately, uncharacteristically of late, we’ve made a couple of errors from our point of view and we’ve been punished.”

On Saturday’s game with Mansfield…

“The next game is always the biggest, we’ve always said that.

“As disappointed as we are today, we’ve got to dust ourselves off quickly. We can’t feel sorry for ourselves. We’ve got to move on, put some things right and come out fighting on Saturday.”

On James Olayinka’s injury and Blues future…

“He had a scan at Arsenal today so we’re awaiting the results of that scan. We’re hoping it’s not too bad, but until we see the results of that scan we’ll have to wait and see.

“We’ll cross that bridge [about extending his stay] once we know the results of the scan. We’ve had talks with Arsenal and talks are on-going. We’ll visit that one once we know all the variables on the table.”

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