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League Two

Tomlin earns Sturrock praise

16 December 2012

Southend manager Paul Sturrock heaped praise on striker Gavin Tomlin after he bagged a late equaliser in the 2-2 comeback draw against Bradford.

The Shrimpers seemed to be heading for defeat until Tomlin's last-gasp equaliser secured a 2-2 draw at Roots Hall. And Sturrock was thrilled to see the in-form forward grab his ninth goal in nine games.

"Gavin is in great form now and I think we're getting the rewards for sticking with him in attack now," said Sturrock. "When things weren't going his way and the goals weren't coming his way we stuck by him and told him his place wasn't under threat because all other aspects of his play had been spot on.

"But now he can't stop scoring and it was fantastic to see his latest one go in because I don't think either team deserved to lose this. We obviously came from behind to get the point and it does feel more like a victory for us if I'm being honest."

Bradford, who shocked Arsenal in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday, initially seemed set for another victory. James Hanson headed over from close range before nodding another effort against the crossbar and it came as no surprise when the Bantams went in front in the 27th minute, with Nahki Wells grabbing his 15th goal of the season.

The striker had his first effort blocked by Luke Prosser before guiding the rebound in from six yards. Bradford doubled their lead in the 64th minute when Prosser sliced a right-wing cross from Atkinson into his own goal.

However, Southend replied strongly and got back into the game in the 80th minute when Ryan Cresswell headed home a right-wing corner from Kevan Hurst. The Shrimpers continued to push hard for an equaliser and it came right at the death when a long ball forward found Tomlin and he made no mistake with an assured left-footed finish.

But Bradford boss Phil Parkinson refused to be too critical of his team. "The players have come here and put their bodies on the line again for this football club and there really is so much I can ask of them," said Parkinson. "They been fantastic and did well again for most of this match.

"Unfortunately, Southend came back to get a point and it's disappointing to concede right at the end. But we've played well and just couldn't quite see the job through.

"I thought Southend's first goal was questionable as our keeper was fouled but there are a few tired legs in a dressing room and I will be resting a few of them for the cup replay against Brentford next week."

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