That was a day to dream of, says Phil
SOUTHEND United staged a stunning second-half fightback to see off Walsall and move into the League One play-off places.
The Shrimpers seemed to be heading for defeat when their former midfielder Franck Moussa fired the Saddlers into a 2-0 lead. But goals from Nile Ranger, Anton Ferdinand and Simon Cox saw Southend pick up all three points, much to the delight of their manager Phil Brown.
“This is a massive win in the grand scheme of things and it showed the belief that exists in this group of players,” said Brown.
“I was probably the only man in the stadium who didn’t make changes at half-time but I saw the stats and I thought we created four or five great chances so I left it.
“Ryan Inniss’ booking was actually the turning point. He was sailing close to the wind so I brought Jason Demetriou on and the substitutes played a massive part in turning things around.
“I thought it was going to be one of those days when Moussa scored twice but eventually it turned into a day you dream about.”
Substitute Moussa fired Walsall into an 18th-minute lead with a neat finish from Joe Edwards’ left-wing cross and then doubled the visitors’ lead with another neat finish after a poor clearance from Inniss.
However, Southend got back into the game in the 63rd minute with Ranger heading home Will Atkinson’s left-wing cross following a quick Ben Coker free-kick.
The Shrimpers then drew back level in the 76th minute when skipper Ferdinand volleyed home from 12 yards after Anthony Wordsworth’s free-kick had only been half cleared. And Southend completed their comeback seven minutes from time when Cox curled a 20yard free-kick into the top left-hand corner of the net to leave Walsall boss Jon Whitney fuming.
“At 2-0 up you should not lose a game and I’m not going to keep on making excuses for the players,” said Whitney, whose side slipped to 11th in the table.
“We have to handle set-pieces better because we’ve just switched off. They haven’t opened us up but we can’t keep saying the same thing.
“I don’t want to fill my team with giants but we have to be doing better. We can’t allow set-pieces to cost us.
“We contained them for 60 minutes but their first goal changed it and I feel for Franck Moussa.”
STAR MAN FRANCK MOUSSA Walsall