Blues boss Mark Molesley was left frustrated that his Southend side were unable to come away from Cheltenham with at least a point after falling to a narrow 1-0 defeat at the Jonny-Rocks Stadium.
Conor Thomas’ penalty shortly after the restart, after a foul on Callum Wright by Shaun Hobson, was the difference between the two sides as results elsewhere meant the Robins went top of the League Two table.
In a game short of chances though, Southend had a couple of great opportunities to grab a result with headers from Emile Acquah and Timothee Dieng the best of the bunch, but it wasn’t to be for Blues and after full-time, Molesley gave us his thoughts on the defeat.
On the defeat to Cheltenham…
“It’s a tough one to take as I felt we went toe-to-toe and we matched them throughout the game. Cheltenham are an excellent side and I’ll be surprised if they didn’t go up this year. They’re very well put together, very well organised and I thought we were as well.
“There wasn’t loads of chances in the game. It was a tough battle and, again, an agonising goal to concede. It was sort of a tangle of players on the byline and the penalty has gone their way. I haven’t seen it back yet, whether it was or wasn’t, but to lose the game in such a cruel fashion.
“We’re playing against the so-called top sides at the moment and we’re more than matching them, and we’ve got to look for positives to take. At this stage of the season, you don’t always want positives, you want points and we’re certainly working hard and fighting for them.
On the limited chances for both sides…
“We went close a couple of times at the end and we were pushing hard. Cheltenham are the meanest defence in the league, but I think we’re one of the meanest defences in the league based on current form, so it was probably going to be a game of few chances.
“They got their penalty and we went agonisingly close a couple of times with headers, and Simeon being a hair’s breadth away from getting on one at the end there as well.
“A tough one to take. We’re frustrated but that shows how far we’ve come. We’ve come to a top team and we’re gutted we haven’t come away with anything.
On the form shown in the last five games…
“We’ve been bitterly unlucky in two [of those five] games: Bolton, the most bizarre goal, a freak goal; and then a tangle of players on the byline tonight. It’s not like it was any clear shooting opportunity and we’ve been undone by that.
“It didn’t go our way tonight, but we can’t feel sorry for ourselves. We’ve got to keep believing, keep working hard, keep looking for areas to improve, but the attitude and mentality of the boys has been second to none again.
“The two defeats have been tough to take. I think we were worth a point in both of them, so we’re gutted we’re not unbeaten in that period but it’s gone now. We’ve got plenty more games coming and we’ve got make sure that we’re ready for those now.