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Chris Vaughan: Southend are capable of top three finish
CHRIS Vaughan feels Southend are capable of a top three finish in National Two South this season.
The Seasiders saw off Ampthill 30-21 at Warners Bridge at the weekend to secure their fourth win in six games.
And Vaughan, who was among the try scorers, is confident his side will be able to build on their promising start to the new campaign.
“It’s very hard league and it we have some tough and interesting games ahead.
“But I think we could make the top three this year,” said Vaughan, 24.
“We have a good group of youngsters here combined with experienced heads like Michael Guess, Daniel Legge and James Kellard who I think make a big difference.
“Saturday was a scrappy and physical game but we were able to hold on to get the win we all wanted.”
As a result, Southend now sit sixth in the standings, just three points behind league leaders Bournemouth.
And Vaughan was quick to praise the performance of the returning Mike Stanley who impressed at fly half on his first game back with the Seasiders.
“Mike’s a class player and he made a big difference again,” said the former King John School pupil.
“He scored a great individual try at the end and he helped us to control the game.”
Stanley kicked a penalty to put Southend ahead and the Seasiders extended their lead when ever improving prop Todd Bailey broke off after a maul to touch down and make it 8-0.
Ampthill hit back with winger Dean Adamson scoring a try Elliot Clements-Hill converted Southend replied when good work from scrum half Lee Sandberg and full-back Mark Billings sent Sam Nash in to score and make it 13-7.
But Ampthill went in ahead at half-time with Joseph Tarrant touching down for a try, Clements-Hill converted to put the visitors 14-13 ahead.
However, Southend started the second half strongly and retook the lead when Billings teed up Vaughan to score and put the Seasiders 18-14 in front.
That lead was extended even further when a fine break from Stanley eventually resulted in prop Michael Guess scoring his fourth try of the season.
Almost immediately, Ampthill’s Joseph Sproston scored a try of his own to cut Southend’s lead to 23-21.
But an outstanding try from Stanley then settled the game in the Seasiders’ favour as he picked up the ball inside his own half before charging 40 metres forward to score in the left hand corner.
Replacement Alex Harrison added the conversion and Southend will now be confident of further success when they travel to bottom of the table Bishop’s Stortford on Saturday.