The Non-League Football Paper


- By Steve Harris STAR MAN: Jack Bridge (Southend) ATT: 2,417 ENTERTAINM­ENT: ★★★★★ REFEREE: Gary Parsons

PROUD Kevin Maher hailed the never-say-die attitude of his Southend United side as they once again put their off-field issues to seal a late win against Torquay United.

Cav Miley’s stoppage-time winner stole all three points for the Shrimpers after Callum Powell’s opener had earlier been cancelled out by Lewis Collins’ first goal for the Gulls.

Not bad for a club who are are due to face a winding up order in the High Court this week – Maher, naturally, couldn’t have been prouder.

“They’ve taken knocks all season and they’ve always responded to it,” he said with his side sixth in the table.

“When you cross that white line, it’s down to you. What you saw at the end, that wasn’t down to formations or tactics, that was down to heart. I’m lucky to manage them and that’s the biggest compliment that I can give them.”

Despite both sides making a slow start, Southend enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges as Jack Bridge, Noor Husin and Jake Hyde all went close.

The Shrimpers eventually broke the deadlock on 27 minutes when Powell found the target with a low drive.

Torquay looked to try and find a way back into the game, but the best that they could muster were a couple of long-range efforts from Tom Lapslie and Shaun Donnellan.

In the 36th minute, Husin was denied by a one-handed save from Torquay keeper

Mark Halstead as Southend looked to add to their advantage.

Torquay boss Gary Johnson shuffled his pack at half-time as he sent Newport County loanee Collins on in place of Jacob Mensah at the start of the second half.

The Gulls then looked to up the ante as Ross Marshall headed a corner from Brett McGavin wide on 51 minutes. Dillon De Silva curled a strike from the edge of the penalty area straight into the arms of Southend keeper Blondy Nna Noukeu after being teed up by McGavin in the 68th minute before firing wide moments later.

On 79 minutes, Nna Noukeu punched away a free-kick from McGavin before denying Collins from the rebound.

But, with five minutes to go, Collins powered home after a long throw from Moxey created havoc in the Southend penalty area.

However, the Gulls’ joy proved to be shortlived as Miley made a run from inside his own half before drilling home past Halstead to clinch the points, much to Johnson’s frustratio­n.

“That’s what happens when you are down in the lower reaches of the league,” he said.

“We did well to wrestle it back in the second half. We got into their penalty area and created chances, and we gave it a bit of a go – we had momentum in the second half.”

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