JUSTIN HAS A POINT IN RE­TURN

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

GILLING­HAM boss Justin Ed­in­burgh felt his pro­mo­tion-chas­ing side de­served more than just a point on his re­turn to Southend United.

The fourth placed Gills slipped five points be­hind the top two with this draw at Roots Hall.

And Ed­in­burgh, who started his play­ing ca­reer with the Shrimpers, be­lieved his Kent club could eas­ily have col­lected all three points.

“We thor­oughly de­served a point, if not all three,” said the Gills boss.

“It was a very good per­for­mance and we were very un­lucky to go be­hind when we did.

“Fol­low­ing that we had a five or ten-minute spell when we looked a bit rocky but af­ter that we re­cov­ered well.

“It was a good spec­ta­cle and we dom­i­nated the se­cond half, it was just a shame we couldn’t get the win­ner.

“We had a goal­mouth scram­ble right at the end and it looked as though it was go­ing in but un­for­tu­nately our fans be­hind that goal couldn’t quite suck the ball over the line.

“But it’s a valu­able point and a very good per­for­mance.

“There are still nine games to go and we’ll keep go­ing right un­til the very end.”

Gilling­ham went close to scor­ing af­ter just four min­utes when Southend goal­keeper Daniel Bent­ley de­nied Luke Nor­ris and Jake Hessen­thaler in quick suc­ces­sion, be­fore Southend went in front in the 21st minute, with An­thony Wordsworth net­ting from eight yards af­ter neat ap­proach play from Ty­rone Bar­nett and Glen Ka­mara.

How­ever, the Gills hit back to equalise six min­utes into the se­cond half when Bren­nan Dick­en­son’s left-wing cross picked out Nor­ris who net­ted with a cush­ioned fin­ish from six yards.

Gilling­ham re­mained on top af­ter draw­ing back level and Bent­ley twice did well to deny Do­minic Sa­muel be­fore Deji Oshi­laja saw a header cleared off the line by Wordsworth.

But the draw saw Southend move up to ninth in the League One stand­ings, three points below the play-off po­si­tions.

And Phil Brown – who has been heav­ily linked with a re­turn to Bolton Wan­der­ers – felt both sides lacked the qual­i­ties needed to con­vert their chances.

“The three points was al­ways go­ing to be de­cided by com­po­sure in front of goal and nei­ther side had it if I’m hon­est,” said Brown.

“Gilling­ham are a good side but I thought a draw was a fair re­sult in the end to be per­fectly hon­est and no one can com­plain.

“I thought Jack Payne had scored to make it 2-0 30 sec­onds be­fore they equalised but that was the way the game was.

“We’re a point closer to the play-off places now but we have to get at least 70 points to get in that top six.

“We can all do the maths to work out what’s needed but we have a very im­por­tant Easter pe­riod com­ing up.

“If we can get six points out of six then we will still be right in con­tention for the play-offs.

“But if we don’t then it could be dif­fi­cult for us to achieve the back to back pro­mo­tions we’re af­ter – we will see what hap­pens.”

PIC­TURES: Martin Cole/Pro Sport

WE’RE AWAY: Southend United mid­fielder An­thony Wordsworth scores the game’s first goal

NO SIRE: Dis­al­lowed goal

STAR MAN DANIEL BENTLE

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