Gillingham 1-2 Southend United

Southend United returned to the top of League Two as they held on for a narrow victory at the Priestfield Stadium.

Liam Dickinson fired Southend ahead on nine minutes with a low left-foot shot.

Paul Sturrock's Shrimpers then doubled the lead on the half hour when, from JP Kalala's low left-wing cross, the ball went in off home defender Joe Martin in a scramble of legs in the six-yard box.

Gavin Tomlin rifled a 15-yard shot into the top corner late on, but the home side were unable to force an equaliser.

Southend's victory ended a run of three defeats in four matches, but a fourth straight defeat for Andy Hessenthaler's Gills denied them the chance to return to the play-off zone.

VIEWS FROM THE TRAINING GROUND

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Hessenthaler impressed by youngsters

Gillingham manager Andy Hessenthaler told BBC Radio Kent:

"It was the same old story in the first half, making errors and making it very difficult for ourselves.

"They're basic errors that shouldn't happen. When you're on a bad run, that's what happens.

"We're not seeing danger and we're getting punished for every error at the moment.

"You've got to give the boys a lot of credit and you've got to think about playing them. Maybe that's the route - get the young boys in and get them playing. They play with no fear, they give you everything and they listen."

Southend manager Paul Sturrock told BBC Essex:

"I think it proved tonight, that what I've tried to preach to these players works for us. The first half performance was different class.

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We played to gameplan - Sturrock

"Everybody, to the letter of the law, played to the gameplan, and the boys worked very, very hard.

"We tired, which is always going to be a feature when you press so high up the football pitch.

"You've got to give credit to Gillingham, they changed a wee bit and tried to pass round us, so it made it more difficult."

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