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REACTION: MAHER ON DRAW WITH EASTLEIGH

22 February 2022

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Kevin Maher said that coming away disappointed with just a point away at Eastleigh shows how far the club has come after Blues extended their unbeaten league run to 10 games with a 1-1 draw this evening at the Silverlake Stadium.

Noor Husin’s superb volley right on the hour mark earned Southend the point they needed to take their unbeaten run into double figures, with his strike cancelling out Harry Pritchard’s eighth-minute effort that had put the home side into an early lead.

And after the full-time whistle had blown down in Hampshire, the Blues boss gave us his thoughts on the draw, stating that the change in mentality in the camp meant the players felt like it was two points dropped rather than a point gained.

“It feels like, the way the players are in there where the mentality has changed, we’ve dropped two [points] because we go into every game trying to win,” said Maher following the midweek stalemate.

“Even so, away from home, when you come and get a point after being one down, sometimes you take that.

“We lacked a little bit of quality and we turned the ball over too cheaply in the first half at times. Credit to the players second half, we come out and we’re pushing to win the game.

“We got a great goal by Noor but we’re the ones pushing to win it. We just had to find a little bit of quality at the end.

After Pritchard glanced in Brennan Camp’s cross inside the opening 10 minutes, Maher’s in-form Blues struggled to get going and found it difficult to create chances.

Despite naming an unchanged side to that that beat Woking last time out, the Blues boss felt Southend’s sloppiness with the ball contributed to a tough opening 45 minutes for his side.

“I think we were a little bit sloppy on the ball and turned it over too cheaply. If you keep the ball and keep the ball moving quickly you work their legs and the more tired they get.

“The more you turn it over you give them a bit of hope and when they go on the counter they were a little bit of a threat.

“When they get a goal it gives them something. They’re alright here at home, it’s a tough place for a lot of teams to come.”

Ultimately though the points were shared and it was an excellent strike from Husin that meant Blues returned to Essex with a point and their unbeaten run intact.

The Afghan international scored with a sweetly struck volley from outside the area to notch his second goal of the season, and Maher was full of praise for his star man.

“He's got that quality and he’s been brilliant since he’s come in.

“His quality on the ball makes us play and he’s obviously got [that type of goal] in the locker as well.

“He’s got a couple now and he’s got the ability to do that. It’s a hell of a strike.”

Blues’ unbeaten run of 10 games stretches back to the Boxing Day draw with Bromley, and with Southend yet to taste defeat in the league in 2022 they face a tough test ahead against promotion-chasing Solihull Moors who visit Roots Hall this weekend.

But after years of despair for those associated with the club, Maher was simply delighted with the unbeaten run his side have been on which shows how far the club has come since his arrival.

“Delighted with everyone. It’s where we’re going as a club as a whole. If you’d said 10 games ago where we’d be we’d have been delighted with that.

“The fact that we’re a little bit disappointed to not come away with a win shows you how far we’ve come. There’s going to be ups and downs, we know that. To keep this run going is going to be difficult but one we’re prepared to do and we’ll keep working towards that.

“Delighted with everyone with what’s gone on and how everyone’s working hard and pulling together in the same direction. The fans tonight were unbelievable again and the connection between the players and fans as well at the end is brilliant to see.”


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