BEST WIN YET FOR BROWN
SOUTHEND United boss Phil Brown labelled his side’s win against Port Vale as his best yet in charge.
Joe Pigott’s fifth goal in four games secured Southend their fifth win in six games.
And Brown was delighted by the manner of his team’s display.
“This is the best result we’ve had since I’ve been here because it showed we belong at a higher level,” said the Shrimpers boss, who has been in charge since March 2013.
“We played some great stuff in the first half and I always felt as though the first goal would win it.
“It was another good finish from Joe to give us the win and he’s certainly in a rich vein of form.”
Pigott’s 63rd-minute winner saw Southend work their way up to seventh in the League One table.
And Brown remains fully focused on his job at Roots Hall, despite being linked to a coaching position at Sunderland where close friend Sam Allardyce has taken charge.
“We showed that there was nobody stepping away from their jobs, including me,” said the 56-year-old.
“Yes there will be speculation and it’s flattering, especially as Sunderland are my home-town team who I grew up supporting. But I’m Southend United manager, end of story.”
Brown’s latest win was also among the most entertaining as his side triumphed in a feisty encounter.
The first half was particularly eventful and Port Vale went close to scoring early on when Uche Ikpeazu had a goalbound effort blocked by Southend skipper John White before Enoch Andoh’s deflected effort was pushed to safety by Shrimpers goalkeeper Daniel Bentley.
In reply, on loan Pigott saw a 12-yard shot deflected onto the right post before his strike partner Myles Weston wasted a great chance to score when he fired wide of the left upright when clean through on goal. At the start of the second half, Vale winger Andoh saw a rasping effort palmed away by Bentley before Colin Daniel fired wide of the left post from 20 yards.
But, after surviving the scares, Southend replied to break the deadlock in the 63rd minute when Anthony Wordsworth’s low, leftwing cross was bundled into the net from close range by Pigott.
Vale did go close to equalising late on when Byron Moore fired inches wide of the left post from 20 yards.
Andoh also had a volley smothered at his near post by Bentley but Vale boss Rob Page was disappointed by the defeat which saw his slip to 11th in the table.
“We’ve given their lad Joe Pigott the easiest goal he will score all season and we need to be more clinical ourselves when we get chances in front of goal,” said Page.
“The opportunities were there but we just didn’t take them and that was the difference.
“I don’t think it’s about confidence because that should be high coming into this game but Colin Daniel has had about half a dozen chances himself. He should score them and it could have been a completely different game.”
STAR MAN JOE PIGOTT Southend PIG-TIME: Joe Pigott celebrates scoring for Southend