The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Chris Phillips

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.”

PIC­TURES: Stephen Lawrence

STAR MAN JOE PIG­OTT Southend PIG-TIME: Joe Pig­ott cel­e­brates scor­ing for Southend

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