PHIL FUMES AS EAGLES SOARS IN
SOUTHEND manager Phil Brown was left hurting after the Shrimpers needed a late equliser to snatch a draw with struggling Port Vale at Roots Hall.
Anthony Wordsworth’s 83rdminute effort cancelled out Chris Eagles’ opener for Vale.
But Brown, whose seventhplaced side are now four points behind the play-offs, was disappointed by Southend’s below-par performance.
“I just can’t accept the goal they scored,” fumed Brown.
“I have four or five lads who are above six foot, plus the goalkeeper, but Chris Eagles scores with his head.
“I’m not sure how many goals Chris Eagles has got with his head but it can’t be many!
“The best football we played came after we conceded but if it takes somebody to score against us for us to play our best football, then we have the wrong mentality.
“The players dug deep to get something from the game but to not get three points hurts us.
“Too many of our top players were off and Simon Cox has put his hand up.
“You would expect him to finish the chance he had and if we had scored first, their confidence would have nose-dived.”
Cox’s golden opportunity to score came in the 13th minute, when the striker somehow fired wide of the right post after being picked out by Jason Demetriou’s right-wing cross.
Vale hit back with Callum Guy having a goalbound shot brilliantly blocked by a sliding Adam Thomson before Sam Foley’s header from Jerome Thomas’ corner was nodded off the line by Demetriou. However, the visitors made the breakthrough in the 78th minute when Eagles headed home a Foley free-kick.
But Southend fought back just five minutes later, with Wordsworth sliding home a leftwing cross from the impressive Ben Coker for his tenth goal of the season.
Yet Vale boss Michael Brown was still happy to see his relegation-threatened side pick up a point.
“It was a fantastic, gritty performance from our boys,” said Brown, whose 22nd-placed outfit have still yet to win in 2017.
“We lost a couple of players before the game and another couple in it so we did ever so well.
“It was very pleasing to take the lead but unfortunately it just wasn’t meant to be and we couldn’t hang on.
“But it was a fantastic away performance at a tough place against a team who are doing ever so well.
“It’s also great news that we’ve closed the gap on the teams above us.
“If you had offered me a draw before the game I would have taken it but we didn’t play for a draw. “We played for the three points and trying to get a clean sheet but it wasn’t to be.”
MAGNIFIC-ANT: Anthony Wordsworth turns in Southend’s leveller HIGHER: Southend’s Ryan Leonard wins this header