ROB Kiernan ended 18 months of injury heartache by scoring for Southend United at Blackpool on Saturday.

The Shrimpers centre-back was left fearing for his career after undergoing surgery on both knees during his long lay off.

But the 28-year-old enjoyed a successful return to action, much to the delight of Blues boss Chris Powell.

"We're gutted to have conceded at the end like we did but we have to remember there were so many positives out there and Rob Kiernan is one of the main ones," said Powell.

"He's been out for 18 or 19 months and it's been a really tough time for him.

"But I just had a feeling about putting him back in and it was a great moment seeing him score.

"It was just a shame it didn't help us win the game because we should really have seen it out at the end there."

Kiernan's previous appearance came as a first half substitute against Rotherham United in August 2017.

But he played the full 90 minutes in Blues' 2-2 draw at Bloomfield Road.