RYAN Cresswell feels Southend United’s hard fought 1-0 win at Chesterfield on Saturday shows they are serious contenders for promotion this season.

Blues were forced to dig deep to secure all three points at the Proact Stadium.

And Cresswell, who shook off a shoulder problem to star in defence, felt it was a crucial victory.

“I don’t think it was a great performance, it certainly wasn’t one the fans could really enjoy, but I think we all enjoyed the goal and the win because it was very important we got it,” said the 25-year-old centre-back.

“It was a really tough game against a good side who have been on a very good run of form at home.

“Most teams would have been happy to have got a point, especially the way the game was going.

“But that wasn’t good enough for us, we wanted the win and the fact we got it shows we’re really going for promotion this season.”

The victory pushed Blues back into seventh, and the final play-off position, in League Two.

And Cresswell was particularly pleased to have helped his side keep their first shutout since winning at Dagenham & Redbridge on Boxing Day.

“The clean sheet was important as well because it’s been a few games since our last one,” said the defender.

“All the lads worked really hard to help us get it and, although we weren’t playing very well at times, everyone kept working hard and we reaped the rewards.

“Mickey (Spillane) in front of us had a good first game and Paul Smith pulled off a couple of excellent saves that helped us to keep that clean sheet.”

Smith again looked assured between the sticks and there appeared to be greater understanding between the keeper and his defenders.

That had been lacking at the start of the season and Cresswell confessed work had been done on the training ground to iron out problems dealing with long balls over the top of Blues’ defence.

“I think the management had identified that we needed to work on communication and we’ve been sorting it out on the training ground,” said Cresswell.

“Communication between the back five is now very good and hopefully that can continue to help us pick up more clean sheets.”