Definitely maybe… or the other thing?

Oldham Athletic v Southend United – Sky Bet League Two – Boundary Park – Saturday 3pm – Preview

Match 32 – Defeat 18 – Points 28 – Position 22nd

It’s a case of as you were at the bottom… well, sort of…

Southend’s defeat at Cheltenham wasn’t overly surprising. After all, they are now at the top of the table and the Blues… well… are where they are.

Perhaps expectation had one or two people running away with themselves a little? Agreed, results and performances have been far more accepting of late. Defensively reasonably sound, although scoring goals remain a huge issue. 

Thankfully, from a Southend perspective, it’s a similar case for Barrow and Grimsby on that latter point. The pair again slipped to defeat during the week ensuring the Blues fragile advantage remained in tack. Incredibly, Port Vale now find themselves in trouble, although Colchester’s win gives them a handy ten-point cushion which will be difficult to overhaul by those in the bottom two.

But the focus from everyone connected with Southend United should now be solely on themselves. Social media was amock with Blues fans ribbing Colchester when they sipped behind against Carlisle on Tuesday evening (that aged well). I have to ask, are they completely blinkered to the situation Southend are in, and indeed have been in for some time? 

In comparison to the other clubs I cover, I’ve often found Southend supporters (and this is speaking as one myself) far more concerned with issues elsewhere than what is going on right under their noses. 

It’s a trait I find synonymous with politicians and councillors – pointing out the inadequacy of others while Rome burns before their very eyes. Perhaps that is why in this case the club has slipped into such a precarious position without so much of a challenge?

Once again, I’ll be upsetting the blinkered few. It doesn’t matter what goes on elsewhere, local rivals or not. On and off the pitch, Southend United got themselves into this mess, not Colchester, Leyton Orient or anyone else. Only those charged with the task can get Southend out of it.  

If we are to scoff and bring our nearest and dearest rivals into the conversation so often, perhaps a better line of enquiry would be to ask why – at a time when they are also underachieving – do they remain financially more stable, playing in a relatively new, or in Orient’s case largely redeveloped stadium, and above all, sit above Southend in the league? Is that not far more important? 

Blues are now in a slightly worse position following Tuesday evening’s results. For me, the cause not helped by an unimaginative team selection at a time where Southend need to be bold and brave.

Sure, the penalty which settled the game was ‘iffy’ – but whether you choose to bemoan the Blues luck or not, the fact remains Mark Molesley’s side had no shots on target to Cheltenham’s five 

“A tough one to take. We’re frustrated but that shows how far we’ve come. We’ve come to a top team and we’re gutted we haven’t come away with anything,” was Molesley’s post-match patter. 

I agree, once again it was gritty – I like that. But let’s be honest, Southend hasn’t laid a glove on them, even with the second half arrivals of Goodship, Akinola, Ferguson and Hackett-Fairchild – perhaps amongst the more creative players in the squad – The threat, at best, remained minimal. 

How far we’ve come? – Sure, Blues have caught up after unforgivingly giving the rest of the league a fifteen game start, but ultimately are still towards the bottom and have lost eighteen games. That is down to recruitment, managerial decisions and the ability of the players.

Yes, how far we’ve come? Come back to me when we are challenging for promotion, the club is on a sound foundation and the fans are all singing from the same hymnbook because currently, I’m far more concern with how far the club has fallen, why it happened and most importantly, how we are going to get out of it!

Anyway, rant over. You can only shape the future. Football quickly offers you another opportunity. Southend head to Oldham Athletic, a team struggling for form, and they simply must take advantage.

Despite Barrow and Grimsby having games in hand, Southend can only try to control their own destiny. Neither of them will win every game between now and the and of the season – nor will the Blues. But Southend can’t be reliant on them losing every game because that won’t happen either. 

Of their fifteen defeats this season, Oldham have lost eleven at home. A chink in the armour? A question mark over the Latics mentality, confidence and ability? Unquestionably, this is a game Southend must be targeting. But then again, in this situation, every game needs to be – more than ever. 

The clock is ticking – You are a long time dead – No regrets. Say what you like, but Chairmen, managers and players move on. Supporters are left to reflect and pick up the pieces of broken dreams and in some cases, hideous nightmares. 

It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been a season ticket holder, how many miles you’ve done following the team all over the country or for that matter how many replica shirts you possess. We are completely powerless once the players cross the white line.

Certainly, a raucous crowd will give any team a lift, but that option isn’t available to any of us right now – It’s totally in the hands of those at the helm.

I’ve no doubt the manager and players are doing their best in an otherwise dire situation. But ask yourself, is digging deep in the trenches, sitting tight and almost waiting for the inevitable, the answer or would you rather see a few warriors, guns threw up blazing in the face of the opposition, similarly to what we saw from the team at Forest Green? 

Jeevesie’s prediction: Oldham Athletic 0-1 Southend United

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Brian Jeeves

Email: [email protected]