Leeds United boss Gary McAllister has admitted his side's away form is causing him "concern" following last night's 1-0 defeat at Southend. Last night's loss did not do serious damage to United's league position - the club dropped from second place to third but did not lose any ground on leaders Scunthorpe United. nevertheless, McAllister admitted his disappointment at Leeds' lack of attacking fluency in Essex.
"At times I thought we played some good stuff," he said. "Their keeper made a few decent saves and we created some good situations, but our final delivery let us down. For parts of the game we were fine. I couldn't fault the lads - I can't say they weren't giving it 100 per cent. But there were occasions when we didn't get what I expect from certain players and that's quality. With the amount of possession and amount of play we had and considering the areas we got into, I felt that we should have been creating a bit more in the way of chances. It's disappointing for us, especially after a couple of fantastic results at Elland Road. We've come away from home and that's three (league) defeats on the bounce now."
McAllister refused to blame United's loss of points away from home on other teams improving their performances against the Yorkshire club.
He said: "Southend worked their socks off, which we knew they would. Their team had just come off the back of a spanking at Bristol Rovers last weekend and their manager will have been looking for a reaction like any manager would."
On the other side of the tunnel, Southend manager Steve Tilson, speaking on www.southendunited.co.uk, unsurprisingly found plenty of positives.
"It was a good performance tonight (Tuesday) and a fantastic result. Leeds are a tough team to play against and will be there at the end of the season, which made it an even better result. There were lots of pluses to take away, especially the fact we kept a clean sheet. We kept a good shape when we were in possession, which we had to do, as Leeds would have made it awkward for us. They are a good footballing side, but I was really pleased with the way we went forward. We got into some promising positions, but we perhaps didn't take a gamble on the final ball at times."
He went on to praise certain individuals as well as the goalscorer, ex-Leeds full-back Dan Harding: "Dan hasn't threatened too much from set plays before, but he scored a fantastic goal tonight and could have had a second when the goalkeeper made a good save. Francis Laurent and Alex Revell have run themselves into the ground and I had to bring them off in the end, they had nothing less. All night they were an absolute handful. Revs was winning headers and Francis with his feet was turning everyone; I couldn't ask anymore from them.
Ipswich loanee Harding dedicated the goal to the memory of his mother who lost her battle with cancer earlier in October: "My mum passed away at the start of the month and that was for her. The gaffer, all the players and the backroom staff at Southend have been fantastic in supporting me. I want to thank them for that as they have helped me through a difficult period."
After that it's tough to back to talking about a mere game of football but Dan himself commented on the winning goal and his former club: "Simon Francis and I practice our free-kicks every day after training and we were having a bit of an argument about who should take it. In the end I said I fancied myself to score and it went right into the top corner. They are a really good team and there were times we had to be disciplined and we defended well."
Meanwhile in the land of the injured forwards Dougie Freedman, another Blue to have been on the Leeds books, spoke about missing Tuesday's game: "I'm devastated at not being able to play Leeds because it really was a game I was looking forward to playing in. Being honest I think I tried to come back too soon. I tried to train on it but it's still not right and because of that I don't know whether I will be playing this weekend. I think the manager wants me to train for a full week before I come back for a game though so I guess that does make me doubtful."
A prognosis that the 'other' missing top scorer, Lee Barnard, hopes doesn't apply to him: "It was disappointing not to be able to play against Leeds but Saturday is another big game and, fingers crossed, I'll be fit for it. It's been frustrating not being able to play, especially as I was scoring goals.
And seeing Francis Laurent, let alone Alex Revell last night, play so well in their absence!
A nice problem for Tilly to have and worrying for League One defences up and down the country.