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15 April 2022

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Blues were unable to halt their losing run as they missed a hatful of chances before going on to lose 1-0 against Wealdstone at Roots Hall this afternoon.

The Good Friday fixture, played out in glorious spring sunshine, was won by Stephen Browne who came off the bench to fire in from 25-yards in the 68th minute to give the Stones a memorable win on their first-ever visit to Southend.

But that was just half the story as Blues had a first-half penalty saved, missed two tap-ins, had one cleared off the line and hit the post as Kevin Maher’s side fell to a fifth successive defeat in the National League.

“I think we all are [frustrated] to be fair,” said Maher in his post-interview following the full time whistle.  

“We talked about how we wanted to play, and I think we done ever so well and were completely on top for the first half and the majority of the game.

“When you don’t take your chances, you’re always susceptible to them shooting from 20-25 yards and it going in.

“Disappointing, very disappointing. You can’t miss the chances we did there.”

On another day, Southend could have been out of sight by half time.

In just the 10th minute, Blues earned themselves a penalty but were denied by George Wickens who saved Jason Demetriou’s spot-kick.

Both Demetriou and Harry Cardwell then missed chances from yards out, and it was Southend’s profligacy in front of goal that was the biggest frustration for Maher.

“You have a penalty and then a couple that are within three yards of the goal line, and when things are going your way, they go off your knee and go in. At the minute we’re just struggling to get through and get a win and that’s what happens.

“Our quality in the final third wasn’t good enough at times. For the periods we had the ball in their half and their area, we were trying to probe and find a way through, but when the ball did come in it too often hit their first man and we just had to hit an area a little bit better.

“The performance isn’t the worry, it’s confidence and momentum in this league. You see what happens when you get on a run, things go your way; when they’re not going your way that’s what happens.

“When we look it back, we’ll say we played well there, we played well there, but you’ve still got to win and when you create the chances [we did] you’ve got to win the game.”

Next up for Blues is a trip to Barnet on Easter Monday, and with six games remaining until the end of the season, Maher was asked if these final fixtures were a good opportunity to try out new combinations.

Harry Cardwell and Callum Powell were paired upfront this afternoon and Maher felt that they did well as a pairing, but ultimately the Southend boss won’t be picking an experimental side at the detriment of trying to get a win.

“I thought they [Cardwell and Powell] done well. They complimented each other.

“Cards was a huge handful for them and won everything in the air. He’s a willing runner as well and presses from the front; Powelly will run off the shoulder and get in behind, just disappointing that we couldn’t get some goals.

“Yeah, you look [at different things] but I want to win. I don’t like not winning, I hate losing. We’ll look at stuff, but not to the detriment of not getting a win.”

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