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POST-MATCH | Rob Elliot on Southend draw
Jack McGraghan
Author: Jack McGraghan

25th November 2023

Rob Elliot felt his Gateshead side were ‘superb’ in Saturday’s 1-1 draw against Southend United.

Stephen Wearne netted his fifth goal in four games to put The Heed ahead inside 14 minutes before Marcus Dinanga and Jordan Hunter were thwarted by David Martin and the post respectively, with Harry Cardwell’s 75th minute leveller seeing the points shared on Tyneside.

“It was a brilliant performance, especially after what’s been a tough week physically and mentally,” said Elliot.

“I think we completely dominated the game and limited them to very few chances.

“I’m really pleased, obviously gutted not to get three points because I felt we deserved them, but all we can ask for is the right performances and the right attitude.

“I couldn’t ask for any more from the boys, aside from being a bit more clinical, but it is a good platform for us to keep building on.

“Over the course of the last three games we probably could have scored two times the amount, but it’s hard to score at this level and Southend defended really well.

“Being hypercritical, I’d like for us to be more patient with the way we got the ball into the box, but ultimately we had enough chances to win the game and it didn’t quite happen today.

“Their keeper has made a couple of brilliant saves, I think even one when Jordan has hit the post, but we have to use this as fuel to make sure that when we’re in this position again we come away with three points.

“The lads have been absolutely superb, especially considering that at the end I could see a lot of them were running on empty.”

This afternoon’s draw sees Gateshead hold their grip on fifth place in the Vanarama National League, and stretch their unbeaten run to four games with 10 points from a possible 12 taken during that time.

“The one thing it should give the lads is confidence,” added Elliot.

“We’ve dominated every one of the last three games in every single area that we wanted to, and limited three very good teams to not many chances.

“We can’t think we’ve cracked anything though, and we need to make sure this is the first step on what should hopefully be a really good platform for us to move forward.

“There’s going to be a lot of work to do and a lot of tough tests coming up with a busy Christmas period, so it’s a time now for the lads to rest before starting the hard work again next week ready for Woking.”

One concern for Elliot and his coaching staff was the withdrawal of captain Greg Olley on 35 minutes, with the midfielder forced off after committing to a full-blooded challenge in the centre of the pitch.

Elliot says it remains too early to determine an exact diagnosis, adding: “For Greg to come off probably means it’s not great, so we’ll have to assess him and see how he is in the week.

“It was a pity because the four lads in the middle were creating some fantastic stuff – to see Boots, Greg, Whelo and Ed together was really enjoyable to see.

“Luke Hannant has been unbelievable, and was when he came on, but with the way Southend defend with their three in the middle we wanted to really exploit the wide areas.

“It worked really well and Wearney got his goal from it, and it’s something going forward that could work for us.

“Everyone was outstanding, not just today, but over the last three games.

“We’ve started to dictate our shape to opposition teams, which is something we probably haven’t done in the past, and that’s my biggest compliment to the lads.”

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