The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Char­lie Phillippe

PHIL BROWN ad­mit­ted his side were lucky to win af­ter Shaq Coulthirst fired home a late penalty to con­tinue Southend’s pro­mo­tion push.

York dom­i­nated the first half, when Luke Sum­mer­field looked des­tined to score but was de­nied by a fine save from Dan Bent­ley, while Keith Lowe’s header was cleared off the line.

Southend im­proved in the sec­ond half, but it was still York who looked the more likely win­ners. How­ever, Joe Pig­ott was brought down late on by Brad Hal­l­i­day and Coulthirst fired in the spot-kick.

“We didn’t de­serve to win the game but we’ve ended up win­ning it,” said Brown.

“It was a grind­ing per­for­mance. It’s the first time since I’ve been here where we’ve played ugly and we’ve won.

“Our first-half per­for­mance wasn’t ac­cept­able. Sec­ond half, we got it go­ing a lit­tle bit and, when the sub­sti­tutes came on, they made a mas­sive im­pact, none more so than Coulthirst.

“Ev­ery­one in the dress­ing room has a smile on their face be­cause they’re re­lieved more than any­thing, but it’s not an ac­cept­able per­for­mance.”

De­spite their lowly league po­si­tion, York al­most opened the scor­ing in the first minute when a short cor­ner found Josh Car­son, but his low shot from the edge of the area was well blocked by Ryan Leonard.

The Min­ster­men con­tin­ued to look the bet­ter side through­out the half. Sum­mer­field pro­duced a fine curl­ing ef­fort from dis­tance which drew an ex­cel­lent save from Bent­ley.

They al­most went into the break with the lead, but Keith Lowe saw his header cleared off the line by Michael Tim­lin.

Southend im­proved af­ter the break and Pig­ott had a glo­ri­ous chance for the Seasiders on the hour when he fired in a low shot from six yards, but Ole­jnik de­nied him su­perbly with his legs.

And, with less than five min­utes to go, Southend were on for an un­likely victory when a clumsy Hal­l­i­day tackle brought down Pig­ott and a penalty was given.

“I had no doubt about the penalty,” said Brown.“He’s got his body in be­tween de­fender and the ball and he’s been nudged over.The ref­eree had a good po­si­tion of it as he was only five or six yards away.”

Coulthirst stepped up to take the kick and sent the keeper the wrong way to give the Blues their third victory in a row.

York boss Russ Wil­cox felt his side de­served more.

Wil­cox said:“We’ve ab­so­lutely dom­i­nated the first half, but you’ve got to score and, when the op­por­tu­ni­ties come, you’ve got to put them in the back of the net.

“We were by far the bet­ter team and dom­i­nated the ball at times.

“If a neu­tral was watch­ing to­day and asked which team was at the bot­tom and which was at the top I’m sure the roles would be reversed. “That makes it more frus­trat­ing. “At the mo­ment, the re­sults are not match­ing the per­for­mances. That’s so im­por­tant whether you’re at the top of the league or down the bot­tom and it’s very, very frus­trat­ing.”

PIC­TURES: South­ern News and Pic­tures



nd Southe THIRST FOR GLORY: Shaq Coulthirst cel­e­brates scor­ing Southend’s win­ner from the spot

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