SOUTHEND United winger Kevan Hurst made the most of what he felt was a surprise return to the side by securing the Shrimpers a 1-1 draw at Plymouth Argyle on Saturday.

Hurst came back in to the team after being rested for the 4-1 win against Millwall in the FA Cup.

And the 28-year-old made the most of what he felt was an unexpected opportunity by firing home his ninth goal of the season to extend Blues’ unbeaten run to six games.

“The lads were all fantastic in the win against Millwall and to be honest I was quite surprised to come back in to the team,” said Hurst.

“I think the injury to John White might have made it happen due to the way the gaffer changed things around.

“But I have great respect for the manager, I’m thankful for the opportunity he gave me and hopefully I repaid that faith in some way by getting the goal.”

Hurst fired home midway through the second half just three minutes after Dominic Blizzard’s deflected strike had given Plymouth the lead.

The in-form midfielder battled Pilgrims defender Ben Purrington off the ball before scoring and he was thrilled to work his way back on to the score-sheet.

“I was able to get ahead of the defender and it was good that we were able to hit back so quickly after Plymouth scored,” said Hurst.

“Plymouth have been in good form and a good side so we knew it would be hard here and I think a point was about fair.”

The draw saw Southend slip to fifth in the League Two table.

But that does not concern Hurst.

“It’s still very close and we’re in the right in the pack,” said the former Walsall man.

“We weren’t at our best and when that happens it’s important you dig in and don’t lose which is what happened.

“We now have a very big game against Chesterfield this weekend which I would describe as a real crunch clash and we need to make sure we play better in that game now because a win there would make this point even better for us.”