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Southend United v Grimsby Town – Sky Bet League Two – Roots Hall Stadium – Tuesday 7:45pm – Preview
“From little acorns do mighty oaks grow”.
Four points from six, coupled with back-to-back clean sheets and all of a sudden, Mark Molesley’s Southend United side are within touching distance of those immediately above them at the foot of Sky Bet League Two.
Of course, I think it would be foolish for anyone connected with the Blues to believe they are anything other than bang in the middle of a relegation dogfight right now – and one many have little faith they will escape from.
Nevertheless, Molesley’s charges have offered evidence that there’s an ethos within the camp suggesting they can make a fist of it.
“That win was for the players, they won the game – when they lose it’s my fault when they win it’s theirs – and the fans. That was the difference, the players and the fans,” Molesley explained after James Olayinka’s late strike had sunk fellow strugglers Scunthorpe United at Roots Hall on Saturday.
Blues were boosted by the lifting of a transfer embargo hanging over them, allowing Molesley to include Simeon Akinola and Sam Hart in his starting eleven against the Iron. However, one swallow certainly doesn’t make a summer. The Blues chief will need to recruit smartly when the transfer window opens again in three weeks.
But back to the now. Grimsby Town visits south-east Essex on Tuesday evening – a club with their own issues following a run of four league matches without a win.
Mariners boss, Ian Holloway, has promised extra shooting practice in training for his players after a series of chances were passed up during Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Mansfield Town. But defeat at Southend will heap further pressure on the Bristolian and pull his charges dangerously close to those occupying the dropzone.
Southend supporters – impressed with what they witness on Saturday – will undoubtedly now demand more of the same. The bar has been set – the pressure turned up a notch – expectation beginning to grow.
But expectation must remain realistic. As well as questions asked of the players on the pitch, there are still plenty of issues to overcome off it as well which, for the time being, are hampering prospects of progress.
“That was a real game of football today. It felt like the first game of the season. Our season starts today and it was fantastic,” Molesley added after Saturday’s uplifting success. However, we are approaching the midway point of the 2020/21 campaign – the start has long since passed – Southend United Football Club remain at the bottom of the EFL. The club requires a collective honesty, effort and absolutely everyone singing from the same hymnbook if this particular gruesome story is to have an altogether happier outcome.
Jeevesie’s prediction: Southend United 1-1 Grimsby Town