Hands Held High…

Brian Jeeves
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Maidstone United v Southend United – Vanarama National League – Gallagher Stadium – Tuesday (7:45pm) – Preview

York City v Southend United – Vanarama National League – LNER Community Stadium – Saturday (3pm) – Preview

Southend United 3-0 Scunthorpe United – A dominant display which has left the Blues three points off the top seven ahead of tough away fixtures at Maidstone United and York City. Is it too early to mention the ‘P’ word?

Calm down, Jeevesie. Of course, it is. But despite a tidal wave of woe behind the scenes at Roots Hall Stadium, Kevin Maher, his staff and the players should be rightly credited for extending our unbeaten Vanarama National League sequence to six matches whilst establishing the best defensive record in the division having conceded just eleven times in our fourteen matches to date.

In his post-match press conference, boss, Maher agreed: “It was as good as the afternoon could’ve gone for us really,” he enthused.

“We knew it was important to pick up a win at home and keep adding points to our total and we did that in a fully professional manner.

“It does a lot for everyone around the club. There can be a lot of hysteria sometimes, but on the football side, we’re doing ever so well. The players are together and they train properly. I’m delighted for everyone who works here and works so hard that we’re climbing the table.”

Jake Hyde bagged a second-half brace, adding to Wes Fonguck’s opener ten minutes before the interval. I think it is fair to say that Scunthorpe United didn’t provide too much resilience, but you can only beat what is put in front of you. Being over-critical, perhaps the margin of victory should have been higher. But from where we have been over the past four years, to where we are now, this team is a significant improvement and for now, I’ll take that.

At the time of scribing this piece, there is little more to say on Southend’s off-field issues. HMRC haven’t yet gone away while rumours continue to circulate over the late payment of staff. Both scenarios are completely unacceptable.

But let’s focus on football for now. Southend has two winnable games directly in front of them against sides smarting from damaging defeats over the weekend.

First up, a trip to the Gallagher Stadium to face a Maidstone side already embroiled in a relegation battle having been promoted as National South champions last season.

The Stones’ 3-0 defeat at leaders Notts County was already their eighth of the campaign, they have also shipped thirty-three goals, more than any other side in the division.

It would be easy to get carried away. However, disappointing early-season losses to Torquay United and Eastleigh provide a reminder that despite our recent good form, the Blues are far from infallible. Jack Barham and Sam Corne have each found the net three times for teh Kenty club, while James Alabi has gleaned a wealth of experience at this level. Blues would do well to keep a watchful eye over the three of them.

From the Garden of England, Southend head to North Yorkshire to face another promoted side that has faired rather better during the seasons’ infancy.

Despite slipping to a frustrating defeat at struggling Aldershot Town last Saturday, York City remains in contention for the play-off places having won six and drawn four of their fifteen games.

Lenell John-Lewis has attracted a fair bit of attention having scored seven times for teh Minstermen this season, including their consolation goal at Aldershot last time out.

Having moved from their historic Bootham Crescent ground to the modern LNER Community Stadium, attendance has grown as the club, along with so many others at this level, looks for a return to the EFL.

While Maidstone and York’s fortunes have been rather different on the field, off it they have sound foundations and hold a respected position in the community. Though I admire Southend’s recent revival, I remain sceptical as to whether we can re-establish that particular footing without sweeping changes at the helm of the club. In the meantime, it is down to the management and players to provide some sunshine moments at a time when clouds continue to gather at an all to frequent pace.

Jeevesie’s prediction: Maidstone United 0-2 Southend United
Jeevesie’s prediction: York City 1-1 Southend United

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Brian Jeeves

Email: sport@yellowad.co.uk