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20 July 2022

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Blues’ unbeaten pre-season continued with a 2-2 draw away at League Two side Colchester United last night at the JobServe Community Stadium which boss Kevin Maher felt was a ‘good exercise.’

The home side went into the break ahead after Freddie Sears opened the scoring at the midway point of the first half, but Southend responded superbly and grabbed a deserved equaliser through Dan Mooney whose effort from distance took a deflection to beat Sam Hornby.

New signing Wes Fonguck got his first taste of playing for Blues after the club announced his signing less than an hour before kick-off and he was on the pitch to see Cavaghn Miley put Southend in front with a low drive.

It looked like Southend were going to come away with the win against their Football League opponents only for John Akinde to nod in an equaliser in the final minute of stoppage time to snatch a draw.

“This was always going to be tough against local rivals, but they’re a level up and a week ahead of us in terms of pre-season as their season starts earlier,” said Maher at full time.

“Delighted with how we played. Lots to improve but lots to like as well.

“In terms of the fitness looked good, the players that played the 60-70 minutes and the ones that come on as well, some young lads come on at the end and I thought they done brilliantly.”

As Maher said, there were plenty of positives to take from last night with Southend arguably dominating the game after falling behind to Sears’ opener.

The Blues boss felt the goals his side did concede could have been avoided, but he rightly preferred to focus on the overall performance which Maher was pleased with.

“Maybe the first [goal could have been avoided], they got in behind us early on a couple of times. It’s the first time the three have played together at the back since last year and sometimes it just takes a little bit of ironing out, and we thought we done it towards the end of the first half and the majority of the second half.

“The goal at the end is what it is. We’ve got young lads on the pitch and it drops in the box and loops over, there’s not a lot you can do about it.

“The performance was good and we saw a lot of the things we want in terms of possession, end product – we got two goals which was pleasing – and we just wanted to keep at it, playing how we wanted to play in the first half and we hoped gaps would open up.”

Two of Maher’s summer recruits got their name on the scoresheet, with Mooney continuing his impressive pre-season so far since moving from Altrincham, while Miley got his name on the scoresheet for the first time in a Southend shirt.

Maher was full of praise for both in his post-match interview and joked of his surprise with Miley’s goal in particular considering his shooting record in training.

“Dan has shown already, we knew what we were getting with him in terms of goals and assists from what he did at Altrincham last year.

“And to be fair to Cav, the finishing he’s done so far, everything has gone high and over the bar…but he’s kept it down and that’s what happens.

“Pleased for them and the two goals is pleasing, we want more obviously but overall, a good exercise for us.”

Before kick-off, the club announced the signing of Wes Fonguck from Barnet as Maher’s sixth summer signing and he made an impressive cameo appearance late on at Colchester.

The 25-year-old midfielder showed good touch with the ball at his feet and linked up well with his new team-mates, attributes Maher will no doubt hope to see plenty more of this coming season.

“Delighted to get it over the line and you can see he can handle the ball.

“He moves well with the ball and can link the midfield to the attack, so I’m delighted for him and pleased he’s got some minutes.”

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