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25 January 2022

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Blues stretched their unbeaten league run to five games thanks to a 1-1 draw against Aldershot this evening at the EBB Stadium, which boss Kevin Maher felt was “just reward” for his side.

After Aldershot went in front early on through Ryan Glover’s fifth-minute header, Southend dominated the possession but struggled to test goalkeeper Mitch Walker.

The visitors though got the breakthrough three minutes from time as Harry Cardwell popped up to nod in his first goal for the club to ensure the points were shared.

“After conceding so early we knew they were going to get bodies behind the ball and look to counter and when a team scores early and is going to do that it’s obviously difficult,” said Maher after the full-time whistle in Hampshire.

“We knew we had to be patient and we got our just rewards in the end because we were on the front foot, we were the ones pushing to try and win the game.”

“It’s the hardest thing in football to break down a low block, when there are so many bodies behind the ball and defending the box, you need a moment of quality.

“We probably didn’t work the keeper as much as we want; the balls going into the box didn’t ask enough questions, we hit the front man too often, but we said we had to be patient at half-time and wait for that moment because when you have so much of the ball you hope that the other team tire because they’re chasing it.

“Credit to the lads they kept going and got the goal.”

Having scored a 93rd-minute penalty to beat King’s Lynn last time out, it was another late-late show by Blues with the equaliser coming in the 87th-minute from Cardwell.

It was just the striker’s second game for Blues having signed from Chorley last week, and Maher was delighted with his contribution on what was looking like a frustrating night for the frontman.

“He fed on scraps for a long time because there were a lot of bodies around him and Dalby and there wasn’t much room to play in.

“It was a great finish and a great ball in from Ferguson, he’s got across his man and it’s a brilliant header to score.

“As a goal scorer, you want to score goals especially at a new club as well and getting off the mark is big.

“He done a lot of work for us, especially Friday night he worked his socks off and again tonight.

“We said there was going to be a moment and if you’re ready for that moment and you take that, then you’ve done ever so well.”

The point keeps Blues 18th in the National League table, 10 points clear of the bottom three and level on points with Altrincham ahead of Saturday’s trip to rock-bottom Dover Athletic.

Dover though will have been lifted by their first win of the campaign tonight against Eastleigh and Maher knows that Southend will need to be on their game to keep their unbeaten run going.  

“In the end, yeah [it was a good point tonight]. We’re disappointed to only get a point but the way the game went we’ll take that, but we were the ones trying to win the game.

“[Dover], it’s the next game. We came here to try and win and we got a point. We’ll go home happy with that and get ready to go Saturday.

“We’ll pick a team, like we did tonight, to try and win it. It’s a tough one and they got their first win tonight so I’m sure they’ll be buoyed by that. It’s not easy and it’ll be a tough place to go, and we’ve got to be on it to try and win.”

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