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League Two

Ward has reason to smile

28 September 2013

Bristol Rovers boss John Ward was delighted his side secured their first away point of the season after a 1-1 draw at Southend.

Shrimpers winger Kevan Hurst cancelled out Matt Harrold's opener for the home side to ensure the game ended all-square.

"Getting the first point on the road is a big thing for us," said Ward.

"The games we've lost have all been tight, but we've got something from here now and we're happy with that.

"The team's attitude was spot on and we were positive when we could be.

"Of course it was disappointing to go ahead and then draw, but it would be hard for me to say Southend didn't deserve something from the game.

"They played a big part in a tense match and I'm probably happier than Phil Brown is because you want to win your home games.

"However, his team couldn't have tried any harder and neither could mine because both sets of players gave every ounce of effort out there."

After an uneventful first half, Rovers took the lead in the 51st minute when Harrold netted against his former side for the fourth game in succession.

The Pirates forward was left unmarked six yards from goal and headed home a fine right-wing cross from Michael Smith.

Southend drew back level in the 67th minute when Hurst netted a fine, left-footed shot from 25 yards.

But the home-side, who had strong shouts for a penalty ignored just before the break when Lee Brown appeared to bring down Jack Payne, have now not won in six games.

And manager Phil Brown was left feeling frustrated at the final whistle.

"It wasn't for the want of trying that we didn't get all three points, but we just need a bit more quality in the final third and a bit of luck too," said Brown.

"We gave ourselves a hill to climb after going behind, but our goalkeeper didn't have too many saves to make and Steve Mildenhall was certainly the busiest of the two goalkeepers.

"I also don't know how we didn't get a penalty.

"The referee has got to be looking at the linesman to give him a hand and what he doesn't see I don't know.

"It's a foul, it's inside or inside the box or it's a booking for a dive. Jack Payne's young lad, he's not a cheat and he certainly hasn't been taught to dive, so why would he go down?

"He has the chance to get the ball into the box and got a cross in from a dangerous position so I thought it was an unbelievable decision."

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