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12 February 2022

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Southend boss Kevin Maher praised his side's character as Blues shrugged off losing a 2-0 lead to go on and win 3-2 against Woking at the Laithwaite Community Stadium.

Having scored two quickfire goals on Tuesday to dispatch Bromley, it was a case of history repeating itself in Surrey as Jason Demetriou and Callum Powell scored twice in three minutes to put Southend in control in front of the BT Sport cameras.

But Woking hit back after the break with Inih Effiong scoring twice before the hour mark to level matters, only for Harry Cardwell to pop up with the winner 14 minutes from time to extend Blues’ unbeaten run to nine games with a fourth successive victory.

“It’s another three points on our total,” said the Southend United Head Coach following the full-time whistle on Saturday night.

“We take that on board and move up again and go prepare for next week. I’m delighted with the character shown by everyone.

“We spoke about playing at an intensity and a tempo that teams can’t live with, and I think we did that. The front three, no matter who’s playing, do that for us. You see what Callum Powell brings to us in that first half, and he was instrumental in a lot of the good play.

“The disappointing thing was we could have gone in three up, which would have put the game to bed. But 2-0, come out second half, early goal, momentum swings and it is unbelievable character to go and win it. It shows the change in mentality around the place.”

Having blown the Cards away in the first 45 minutes, Alan Dowson’s side were a completely different beast in the second half and got back into the contest thanks to that brace from Effiong.

In years gone by, Southend would have likely folded under the pressure of throwing away a two-goal lead and possibly gone on to lose the game. A feeling Maher agreed might have been the case before his arrival. 

When asked if Blues would have gone down under that pressure in the past, Maher said: “Possibly, but that’s before we come in. Hopefully, we’ve instilled the right mentality.

“We say to the players, don’t ever give up and keep going because we always fancy us to score.

“People have spoken about us not scoring enough away from home, but we’ve got three goals today away from home. We would have liked a clean sheet but we said to the players you can dissect games, but you’ve got to find a way to win.”

“It's no coincidence when you score late against King’s Lynn, away at Aldershot and you find ways to win. Dover, where it’s a battle; even tonight, when the ball’s coming in and they’re getting bigger off the bench again, it’s coming into your box and you’ve to defend and stand up to things.

“We did that but we also went up the other end and got a winner which is pleasing. We didn’t play as well as we did first half in the second half, and we didn’t string too many passes together to take the sting out of them a bit. But at the end of the day, we’ve got what we want, we’ve got three points.”

Blues now boast a record of seven wins and two draws from their last nine league games, a run that has seen them climb to 12th in the National League table.

Southend also now find themselves just eight points off the play-off places, but Maher doesn’t want people to get too carried away and instead would prefer to focus on Friday night’s clash with Grimsby.

“We are [looking up] but the points tally this year is big and the top seven are good sides.

“If you’d gone back 6-8 weeks ago and where we were, I don’t think you’d have dreamt of that.

“Enjoy it. The fans were outstanding again tonight, and I’m sure next Friday will be a good occasion and another tough one for us.”

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