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REACTION: MAHER PLEASED WITH MAKING IT BACK-TO-BACK WINS

23 April 2022

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Blues boss Kevin Maher was delighted to back up Monday’s win over Barnet with a win in front of the home faithful as Southend United beat FC Halifax Town 1-0 this afternoon at Roots Hall.

Kenny Clark’s first goal for Blues – and his first for anyone since 2018 – was the difference as the defender put the finishing touches on a smart set-piece routine to tap in from close range inside the opening quarter of an hour.

Third-placed Halifax had chances to nick a point with Steve Arnold making a couple of vital saves and some dogged Southend defending keeping the Shaymen at bay as Blues made it back-to-back victories.

“After the Barnet game, to come follow up that game with a win was important,” said Maher following the full time whistle at Roots Hall.  

“Back in front of our fans, it was important that we got the win and credit to the players for seeing it out at the end.

“They’re third in the league for a reason, so we knew what threat they posed. I think we dealt with it quite well without conceding too many chances.

“As the game went on and you lose Noor [Husin] in the first half and [Kenny] Clark at half time, it disrupts the flow and we’re having to adjust as we go.

“For the players to show the effort and character they did is a credit to them to keep a clean sheet and come out with a win.”

Today’s match-winner came from an unlikely source in Clark who got on the scoresheet for the first time since scoring for Ebbsfleet United against Maidstone in October 2018.

But the goal was put on a plate for the on-loan Dagenham defender corner routine straight from the training ground between Jack Bridge and Noor Husin, which was much to the delight of the Southend boss.

“It's another set-piece, which is important and we’ve obviously worked on, and it’s paid off which is pleasing to see when they execute it. Kenny was in the right place at the right time.

“We work on set-pieces all the time – attacking and defending ones – and we’ve stood up to the ones coming into our box as well. It’s something where we’ve conceded a few during recent periods.

“We were very good up until then, so it’s nice to be able to keep a clean sheet and be able to score one at the other end. It’s pleasing when it comes off.”

The only downside to this afternoon’s win appears to be on the injury front with Clark needing to be replaced at half time, while Noor Husin and Jack Bridge also needed to be replaced either side of the interval.

And with more tough games coming up against Boreham Wood and Wrexham in the next seven days, Maher is hopeful the injuries aren’t too serious but acknowledged that everyone in the squad will need to play a part in the final four games of the season. 

When asked about the injuries, Maher said: “It's going to be hard to tell right now. Noor felt tightness in his hamstring; Clark felt his calf and Bridge was tightening up as well.

“There’s a few that were hurting out there. When the whistle goes it was like Platoon out there in the end. We had to see it through and credit to the players that did, and to the ones that come on.

“It’s not always easy but Will [Atkinson] again showed just what a good professional he is; [Ollie] Kensdale come in and done well in the middle of a back three which wasn’t easy as you’ve got three young ones there, and [James] Dunne come in again and done ever so well.

“I’m delighted for everyone involved. We’ve got a run of games coming up now and we’re going to be needing everyone at some stage. It’s another tough one Tuesday night [against Boreham Wood], we know that. We’ll see who is fit and able on Monday and we’ll organise ourselves and go again.”


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