In times of trouble and bewilderment…

Southend United v Maidenhead United – Vanarama National League – Roots Hall Stadium – Tuesday (7:45pm) – Preview

Friday, November 19 – Cleethorpes – 7:48pm…

Well, that escalated quickly! Blues exposed defensively in at least three phases leading up to what proved to be the only goal of the game.

Ryan Taylor profited for the homes side. Grimsby Town, a team relegated with Southend at the end of last season, no a huge 21 points better off than us. the relegation trap door already creaking alarmingly beneath our feet.

What made this latest setback all the more alarming is that despite the woeful defending, lightweight attacking and little sign of winning too many battles in midfield, this was an improvement on what was served up against Woking at Roots Hall Stadium a week previous.

Grimsby wasn’t particularly special – They didn’t have to be. it was another case of efficient football, suited to the Vanarama National League, ultimately proving to be successful.

I’ve tried to pick out a positive. Zak Brunt continues to impress. Nevertheless, no doubt his parent club will soon be keen to test him at a higher level. Blues fans took to social media, calling for reinforcements. Louis Walsh started brightly but faded. I’m clutching at straws. For the moment, our heavily out-gunned artillery (more of a spud gun, actually) are isolated with little sign of upward trajectory.

To be honest, I fully understand Kevin Maher’s refusal to go gung-ho in the quest for recruits. Blues have resembled a division eight Sunday morning pub team in recent seasons, bringing in the mate of a mate who once had a trial. As a result, we now resemble a charity shop jigsaw puzzle with wrong and missing pieces. Harsh, but completely fair the evidence would suggest.

Blues can’t afford any more round pegs in square holes. Maher’s task is to bring in suitable, right-minded footballers, capable of competing at this level. It’s a sizable enough conundrum without taking into account the clubs’ reputation, which at best, is completely shot.

But Maher was an honest footballer and has displayed similar traits during his early steps in management. Similarly to Gareth Ainsworth at Wycombe Wanderers, he must persuade bigger clubs to trust him and Southend United with their brighter prospects. For now, the loan market will be crucial while the decks are cleared. I doubt the Blues boss will ever face a bigger challenge at any time in the future, wherever his career takes him.

In the meantime, Southend host fellow strugglers, Maidenhead United at Roots Hall on Tuesday evening. I, for one, am not buying into the ‘time is on our side’ theory. Having proved incapable of beating any of the teams in the top half of the table – nine matches, one point – Blues simply have to start picking up three points against the teams in and around us.

The Magpies, under the management of former West Ham United idol, Alan Devonshire, would probably be the first to admit that they are punching above their weight. However, they have impressively seen off Wrexham and Woking at their York Road ground, while the spoils were shared with Grimsby, suggesting Southend have another tough encounter on their hands.

Kane Ferdinand and Emile Acquah could feature for the visitors. The duo experienced contrasting fortunes while making their way through the ranks at Roots Hall. But both will be determined to prove a point, particularly Acquah, who found first-team football a struggle as Blues floundered alarmingly and ultimately lost their EFL status.

Those victories over Wrexham and Woking underline the unpredictable nature of the league. Unfortunately, until this point, Southend’s predicament has been anything but unforeseeable. Those handed the task of winning football matches need to stand up and be counted – Quickly!

Jeevesie’s prediction: Southend United 1-0 Maidenhead United


Brian Jeeves