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Set pieces prove to be costly yet again for Southend United
FOR the second week in succession Southend United enjoyed more of the ball and the better of chances but still suffered a 2-1 defeat due to not being able to defend set pieces.
Last time out against Chesterfield, the Shrimpers conceded from a corner deep in to stoppage time.
And it was a similar story on Saturday as two headed goals from dead ball deliveries condemned Blues to defeat at Wycombe Wanderers.
The defeat was undeserved in terms of the balance of the play and Southend rarely looked troubled during open play.
But however well they perform, Blues can simply not afford to keep gifting soft goals to their opponents and manager Phil Brown was clearly not a happy man at the final whistle.
Lessons must be learnt from the manner of the last two defeats And Brown will undoubtedly be looking at ways to improve and ensure his team pick up the points their last two performances have warranted.
Better defending would be an obvious place to begin and the return of Mark Phillips would give the Shrimpers a huge boost in that area.
The centre-back is due back in training today after recovering from the groin injury which has kept him out of the last three matches.
And not only does Phillips possess great ability in the air but he would also bring more experience back into what is now an incredibly young side.
Freddy Eastwood, aged 29, was the oldest player in Blues’ starting line-up on Saturday and the average age of the entire team was just 23.9.
Brown will be wanting to increase that if he can before the closure of the transfer window this evening and a commanding, forceful centre-back should it seems be top of the list.
The Shrimpers currently have just three centre-backs in their squad and, with Phillips’ fragile fitness, more competition is certainly needed in that area.
Blues lost the influential Ryan Cresswell to Fleetwood Town during the summer and while it will be a tough task to achieve, Brown now needs to bring in someone of a similar style and stature.
Further forward, another striker is also required but that already seems to have been sorted with the arrival of Cauley Woodrow from Fulham.
In midfield, Southend already have plenty of options and Brown may now look to shuffle his pack in that area of the pitch to bring in the required experienced and more leadership as well.
Kevan Hurst came off the bench during the defeat at Wycombe and he could be required to play more of a part after recovering from the knee which ruled him out of the start of the season.
Blues also have Michael Timlin itching to be involved and he too may soon need to start playing more regularly as his organisational and leadership skills would be a huge benefit to any young side.
Timlin is still on his way back from the broken leg he suffered at Leyton Orient in February but must now be coming back into contention, especially with Marc Laird being badly missed in the centre of the park with a hamstring strain.
But, despite the successive defeats and the defensive frailties, there are still plenty of positives for the Shrimpers.
They remain seventh in the League Two standings and have shown they clearly have the capabilities to be pushing for promotion this season.
However, for that to materialise you sense more experience may be needed in crucial areas and the defending definitely needs to improve.