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11 January 2022

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Southend United made it back-to-back wins for the first time this season as Blues beat Yeovil 2-1 at Roots Hall this evening, giving the Southend boss Kevin Maher plenty to be happy about.

The home side went in front midway through the first-half when Jason Demetriou’s deflected effort looped up over goalkeeper Grant Smith to give Blues a deserved lead.

And on the hour mark, Southend doubled their advantage after a storming run forward by the in-form Matthew Dennis led to his shot falling kindly to Tom Clifford who tapped in from close range.

Yeovil did threaten a late comeback when sub Rueben Reid tapped in a rebounded effort in the final minute of normal time but Blues held out, to the delight of the Southend gaffer.

“It was big, as was Saturday,” said Maher following the full-time whistle at Roots Hall.

He continued: “once we got Saturday out the way this one became big as it’s the next one, so I’m delighted to put it back together with what we did Saturday. Delighted with everyone again.

“At 2-0 we were comfortable enough. You know the ball is coming in the box and they’re going to ask questions, and they got bigger off the bench as well.

“It’s a credit to them that they threw everything at us, even when they went down to 10 men. We had to stand up to it and I have to say the defenders were very good again today. The back three – Kacper, Hobson and Ralph – were outstanding I thought.

“We want more goals because I think we were dominant, and that dominant that we could have got another one maybe. We would have liked a clean sheet, but I’m delighted with everyone involved and how we played. Once we settled down in the first-half I thought we were good.

“There were a lot of balls in and around the final third again where we’re asking for more quality but I can’t ask too much more because they’re giving absolutely everything again.”

With Blues going with an attacking line-up of Sam Dalby, Rhys Murphy and Matthew Dennis up front, it was somewhat surprising that both of tonight’s goals came from Southend’s full-backs.

It was of little surprise though to Maher who named an unchanged line-up from the side that beat Weymouth at the weekend, with the manager explaining how the system is set up perfectly to allow the wide men to push forward.

“In this system, wide men always seem to get themselves in the box because they arrive late and that’s something with the system that works.

“Delighted with them [Demetriou and Clifford], and we brought Leon Davies in as well for competition, but JD has been outstanding again.”

Victory for Blues saw them climb to 18th in the National League table and, more importantly, increase the gap to the relegation zone to seven points.

And Maher was keen for his side to continue to focus on simply getting more points on the board in what could prove to be a pivotal month for Blues.

“We’ve got to keep adding points. I keep saying every week, this football club hasn’t won enough football matches and winning football matches breeds confidence.

“Like we did Saturday, we had to see it out at 1-0 and we had to see it out 2-1 today, and it’s a good test of character. To do that hopefully breeds more confidence throughout the place and hopefully for the players they take that on board.

“The fans, it’s brilliant to see them cheering everyone and supporting everyone like they have done. It’s been hard enough for long enough. There will be ups and downs, I’m sure there will be, but we’re all in this together.

“Everyone at the football club and behind the scenes are working together and I’m sure we’re going in the right direction and hopefully we can continue that on the pitch.”

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