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League Two

Southend United assistant manager Dave Penney positive after draw

22 March 2014

Phil Brown watched from the stands at the Memorial Stadium because of illness but his Southend United team were unable to give him a pick-me-up.

Shrimpers boss Brown saw his side's run without a league win reach a dozen matches with a goalless draw on Friday night and t he result kept the visitors just outside the League Two play-off zone.

Brown's assistant Dave Penney said: "Phil has been under the weather for a couple of days with a flu-like thing and was communicating with me via his mobile phone.

"We feel we had the better of the game, particularly in the second half, but couldn't take one of the opportunities that came our way.

"I can't recall our goalkeeper making many saves and if we had won 1-0 it would have been the perfect away performance. As it is we are still playing catch-up on the teams above us.

``But there was plenty there to build on and we are still right in the play-off battle."

An instantly forgettable game saw Rovers goalkeeper Steve Mildenhall make the best save, diving to palm away a Michael Timlin shot after 53 minutes.

Southend substitute Jamar Loza mistimed his header from a good chance late on, while for the the home side John-Joe O'Toole headed straight at goalkeeper Daniel Bentley with 83 minutes on the clock.

A desperately poor first half was almost bereft of excitement as both teams struggled to retain possession.

Bentley had to make only one save and that was from team-mate Ryan Leonard after an O'Toole shot deflected off him in the 35th minute. Meanwhile, Mildenhall was a virtual spectator.

Chris Beardsley had a volley deflected over for the hosts shortly before the break as the half-time whistle was greeted with virtual silence, despite a healthy crowd of 6,028.

Driving rain combined with a bitterly cold wind made it a tough night for both teams - and their fans.

Rovers boss John Ward admitted as much, he said: "It was a dull game, but there are two ways of looking at the outcome.

"We are a point better off than we were before the game and have kept a clean sheet against a side who have been in the play-off positions for most of the season.

"Some of our fans will look at it like that. Others will say it was a disappointing performance and I can see that point of view too.

"I'm certainly a lot happier than I was on the coach back from Hartlepool last Saturday. After a 4-0 defeat you sometimes need the first goal to get things going again and unfortunately we couldn't get it.

"The fans got a bit edgy, which can happen. We tried different combinations in attack but nothing quite worked on the night."

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