Southend sink Stags but Brown is cautious
PHIL Brown admits his players could start feeling the promotion pressure after Southend held off a spirited Mansfield side at Roots Hall.
Two goals in seven minutes midway through the first half proved enough for the Essex side against a Mansfield team that will now be looking over their shoulder at the teams below them.
Barry Corr’s 14th goal of the season - and his eighth in his last nine - gave the Shrimpers the lead before midfielder Will Atkinson completed the scoring – leaving Southend with just one loss in seven games.
And with his side now sitting eight points off the top three – albeit with a game in hand – manager Brown knows the importance of keeping their form going
“I thought in the first half we were worthy of being 2-0 up but we lacked that ruthlessness to completely kill a team off,” he said.
“They threw certain things at us in the latter stages but when our goalkeeper doesn’t really have to make a save it shows you how comfortable it was.
“Supporters need to understand that it is tight at the top of the table and there is a lot of pressure on the players to get to where we want to get to.
“We are ten points better off than we were last year so if we concentrate on winning our home games then there is a possibility to get somewhere near.”
The breakthrough came in the 21st minute when Michael Timlin stole the ball off Chris Clements and played Corr in behind the Mansfield defence with the striker applying the finish.
Southend doubled their advantage seven minutes later when Ryan Leonard’s powerful halfvolley was parried by Lenny Pidgeley, allowing Atkinson to sweep home his first of the season.
The home side started the second half brighter but wasted an opportunity when Corr headed over from John White’s pump forward.
Mansfield’s best chance of the game came in the 66th minute when Vadaine Oliver climbed highest at a corner but his header struck the bar. Mansfield pushed forward in the second half but failed to make the most of their chances with manager Adam Murray admitting they were beaten by the better team.
He said:“I think we did get a reaction from last week and I don’t think anyone who was here could complain that we didn’t perform well.
“The ingredients I asked for before the game were there but we came up against a side that were a little bit better than us in certain areas.
“There has been a ridiculous amount of change at the football club and it all adds up.”