SOUTHEND United’s legendary goalkeeper Mervyn Cawston heaped praise on Daniel Bentley after seeing the current Shrimpers shot-stopper equal his club record with a 10th home clean sheet in a row on Saturday.

Bentley’s latest shut-out secured the fifth placed Shrimpers a nervy 1-0 win against Tranmere Rovers at Roots Hall.

And Cawston, who kept his own sequence of clean sheets during the 1980/81 season, was thrilled to be back at his former club to see history being made.

“It was the first time I had been at Roots Hall in about 20 years and it was quite special to be there to see Daniel equal my record,” said Cawston.

“I’ve held it for 34 years so I certainly can’t be greedy and if it was to go to anybody else then I’m glad it could be him.

“I’ve been good friends with his father Ian for many, many years but this was the first time I had really spent time with Daniel since he was a child and what a fantastic young man he is.

“He’s very modest, his feet are firmly on the ground and he won’t be getting carried away.

“He’s just a very nice, well balanced young man which you don’t always get in football and, because of that, I certainly don’t mind him equaling my record.

“Plus, having now seen him play, I think he will probably go on to beat it too.”

Bentley was forced to make a couple of good saves in the first half to keep Tranmere at bay and he has still not conceded a goal at Roots Hall since October.

The former Bromfords School pupil will be looking to extend that sequence against Newport County tomorrow night and Cawston, who made 242 appearances during his own successful spell with Southend, has urged Bentley to accept the plaudits coming his way.

“I’m sure Daniel will praise the defenders and other people but he shouldn’t just pass it off because he deserves the credit himself, “said Cawston.

“It’s an awful lot of minutes, hours and matches without conceding a goal and his concentration levels will have been superb.

“I also think the fact it’s been done only twice in more than 100 years speaks volumes about just how good this achievement is.”

The Echo was denied permission to speak to Bentley at the end of the game but the Wickford based custodian tweeted his delight at equaling Blues’ best ever run of clean sheets at Roots Hall.

“I would like to thank everyone for the messages and the support I have had throughout,” said Bentley, who came through the youth system at Southend.

“Also a big thank you to my team mates because without you all none of this would have been possible.

“It's a record broken by not myself, but the team and the club, a fantastic accolade.

“It's also a huge honour to be mentioned along with someone like Mervyn Cawston.

“He’s a club legend and I'm flattered by it all.”