Sturrock lauds Shrimpers

PA Sport
Paul Sturrock

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Paul Sturrock

Southend manager Paul Sturrock hailed the 2-1 defeat of Gillingham as a victory for his hard-working ethos as the Shrimpers went top of npower League Two.

After four games without a win, Sturrock made several changes to the team that was beaten by Rotherham on Friday night and was rewarded with a 10th-minute Liam Dickinson strike and a Joe Martin own goal.

"I am delighted that everyone played to the letter of the law and stuck to our game plan,'' said Sturrock. "The first-half performance was a different class. We tired, which is always going to be a feature of the game when you press high up."

"We still created chances [against Rotherham] but if we had shown that kind of muster then we would have won the game. The four changes were definitely a feature of that. I am very hopeful that the players appreciate what hard work has done for them.

"[Kane] Ferdinand and Dickinson covered a lot of grass and defended from the front which meant defenders were never comfortable and didn't have time on the ball. I just felt the whole team played very well."

Gavin Tomlin pulled a goal back for Gillingham with three minutes to go but the Kent side have now lost five straight games and manager Andy Hessenthaler promised to freshen things up.

He said: "It is time for changes. You can't keep going on the way we are. The positive for me are the young boys [Jack Evans, Connor Essam, Jack Payne] that came on in the second half.

"They proved to me they can handle it. We had to go out and try and get back into the game and we nearly did. They gave us a fresh impetus and they had no fear in their game.

"Whether I can go and freshen it up and bring a couple of fresh faces in, I will speak to the chairman. Jonathan Fortune is an option. He has been training with us for a week and we will see because he is looking for a club.

"I have to find the right formula and I am not finding it at the moment. The buck stops with me. I am devastated at the moment because we are on a bad run and I want to get this club back to where it should be.''

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