BROWN HAPPY TO WIN IT UGLY
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.”
STAR MAN DAN
nd Southe THIRST FOR GLORY: Shaq Coulthirst celebrates scoring Southend’s winner from the spot