Daniel Legge: Improving Southend can go for promotion

Echo: Daniel Legge opens the scoring against Exmouth Daniel Legge opens the scoring against Exmouth

DANIEL Legge is confident Southend can build on their encouraging start to the season and push for promotion in the new year.

The Seasiders player-coach, who came out of retirement last February, was among the try scorers in Saturday’s 36-19 win against Exmouth at Warners Bridge.

And the 29-year-old is certain fifth-placed Southend will continue to improve during the second half of the season.

“It’s been an encouraging start for us and I really feel as though we can have a real go at promotion now,” said Legge, who lives in Leigh.

“Saturday was another good result and it was great to get back to winning ways at home after a couple of defeats, but I feel as though there’s still more to come.

“We have a good balance of youthful and experienced players here now and a top-five finish is definitely our first aim.

“But we’re improving all the time so I do feel we can really push on during the rest of the season.”

Southend are now just five points behind second-placed Cambridge and went in front at the weekend with a try from from Legge.

Bradley Burr added the conversion and then set up a try for Mark Billings, who lined up at outside centre, with a trade-mark grubber kick forward.

Burr kicked the extras to make it 14-0 before Exmouth hit back with a try from scrum half Richard Bolt.

Southend immediately replied with Danny Cleare scoring in the corner after Sam Fombo had stolen the ball from an Exmouth line-out, and Burr’s conversion made it 21-5.

That lead was soon extended when summer signing David Jackson burst through to score his first try for the club and Burr’s trusty boot made it 28-5.

However, just two minutes later, Southend lost two props with Michael Guess hobbling off injured and Craig Strachan being yellow-carded.

The subsequent restructuring seemed to disrupt the Seasiders and the remaining 20 minutes of the first half were an untidy and scrappy affair without any further points being scored.

But, at the start of the second half, Southend were back on the front foot with full-back Alex Harrison racing in to score.

Bottom-of-the-table Exmouth refused to give in and soon scored their second try of the game with David Bargent touching down and replacement Rob Avery-White kicking the conversion.

Fellow replacement Alistair Hill then scored a try but the Devon club still returned home empty-handed.

Southend will now be looking to end 2013 with a third win in four games when they travel to 12th-placed Shelford on Saturday.

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