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Southend United’s Phil Brown hails the Play-Offs and his side’s character after penalty success

23 May 2015

Phil Brown hailed the character of his Southend United team after they secured promotion to Sky Bet League 1 with a penalty shoot-out victory over Wycombe Wanderers.

Trailing from a Joe Jacobson free-kick, which went in via the back of goalkeeper Daniel Bentley, the Shrimpers snatched an injury-time equaliser in extra-time through Joe Pigott before winning 7-6 on spot-kicks.

He said: “The first question everybody asks is, ‘were you losing your belief?’

“I actually thought about my belief, and questioned myself, after we got beat 2-1 by Burton Albion.

“But these players pulled me through - their great characters, their great spirits.

“They’ve dragged me through this year and again today. It’s a real pleasure to be involved with this group of players.”

The Play-Off promotion was Brown’s second as a manager, after his 2008 Championship success with Hull City.

Dean Windass was the Tigers’ match-winner that day, with a spectacular volley, while goalkeeper Bentley was the Shrimpers’ hero, saving from Matt Bloomfield and Sam Wood in the shoot-out.

While his players ran to the young stopper to celebrate, Brown consoled Wycombe Wanderers boss Gareth Ainsworth and reserved praise for his opposite number in his post-match press conference.

“The Play-Offs are a phenomenal spectacle,” Brown added. “I think they are a great invention.

“Probably more for players than managers but listen, being here twice and winning it twice - I must be doing something right.

“It was just about pure pressure; pure bottle - and holding yourself together. And you’ve got to say our lads fulfilled the achievement today.

“There’s lots of things I like about Gareth. He said to me when we lost the toss for the penalty shoot-out, ‘why don’t we stand hand in hand, shoulder to shoulder?’

“We agreed immediately, and that shows you the class of the guy."

Follow The Sky Bet Football League Play-Offs on Twitter @football_league, on Facebook by searching The Football League and on Instagram @footballleague.

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