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23 March 2021

Mark Molesley said that he couldn’t have asked for any more from his players in tonight’s 0-0 draw against Walsall at Roots Hall.

Blues had to play a quarter of the game with 10 men after Sam Hart was shown a straight red card after a heavy collision with Derick Osei-Yaw, but despite the man disadvantage, it was Southend that looked the most likely to score a winner.

Having hit the crossbar in the first-half through Timothee Dieng, John White saw a late effort tipped around the post by Liam Roberts as the Saddlers held on for a point, and the Blues boss gave us his thoughts on the draw after full-time.

On the draw…

“I can’t ask any more from my players; they’re giving everything out there. We’ve gone down to 10 men and just attacked. As soon as we went down to 10 men all we did was attack and put crosses in the box, but being a player down we’re not getting as many players in and around it and I felt there was only going to be one winner out there tonight.

“The first-half was a bit bitty. There were quite a lot of fouls committed by us being a bit overzealous because we wanted to win. In the position that we’re in, we’re giving everything, we’re trying to fight and we were probably a bit too hyped up almost and a couple of niggly fouls didn’t give much flow to the game.

“But the more the game settled down we got on top. We hit the crossbar, we’ve had Timothee Dieng’s header which didn’t quite get enough connection on it, crosses in the box again and we’ve come away from another game where Oxley has made one save.

“It was one save at the weekend, one shot on target against us again tonight, but it’s the other end of the pitch where we haven’t put our half-chances away. We created a lot again, but it’s that final third and that little bit of quality which we’ve been sadly lacking. We’re hurting that we haven’t won the game.”

On Hart’s red card…

“I’ve had a chat with the referee to have a look at Harty’s [Sam Hart] one because I don’t think it was a sending off at all when I’ve looked at it back.

“In hindsight, I get a chance to look at it back; at the time it was a coming together of players, a quick clattering of players. Walsall didn’t help the situation, but Harty has gone in to win the ball, actually won the ball and had his back leg taken away.

“It was a coming together of players at speed, so it looks quite bad and I can see why the referee gave the red card. But looking at it in slow-motion, it’s two players going for the ball very quickly and a nasty coming together.

“I’ve said to [the ref] that we’re going to try and appeal that one.”

On the side’s fight…

“Absolutely, that’s a team fighting out there. They’ve given up one shot on goal and played with 10 men for 25 minutes, half-hour, and all they’ve done is attacked and we’re asking questions.

“Statistics are only indicators, the only thing that matters are points on the board and results. Stats don’t mean anything, it’s only if you win or not. But the indicators are that we’re crossing more, having more shots than teams, conceding less, so the performances are positive, but the end product isn’t.

“Football is a game of both boxes and we’re getting it right at one end, but not so much at the other. There’s a brave group in there which you saw today when we went down to 10 men, they gave everything. It was another slap in the face for us, but we’ll keep getting up and keep fighting.”

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