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TOWN 1 SOUTHEND 1: Malpas' style trial is at an end
MAURICE Malpas admits his County Ground reign has so far been a case of style over substance' but warns any footballing purists out there they may be in for a less than pleasing next few weeks.
Just weeks ago the Town boss insisted he would never resort to a long-ball game but after just one win in nine games a frustrated Malpas admits a more direct approach could soon be on the cards.
No-one could accuse Town of playing too much football in yesterday's dismal 1-0 defeat to Southend but, for the majority, a refreshing attempt to play a passing game under Malpas has not brought the results.
As everyone at Town continues to look anxiously over their shoulders at the relegation scrap, the Scot admits desperate times will inevitably lead to desperate measures as he looks to re-discover that winning feeling.
He said: "I spoke to someone the other day and they told me to put two up front and shell it and fight for everything and you would get a victory.
"I might have to start doing that because at the moment although we are playing decent football we are not getting a win and that is what it is all about.
"I will never get judged on pretty football and I don't want to be judged on that.
"I will never be judged on that because there will come a time where people will say you have only won one in nine and I will start getting criticised for that.
"If I start getting criticised, the players will take it and they will get criticised and it will get in a snowball.
"Punters are not interested if you play well. They just want to see you win games and we need to get a win sooner rather than later."
Ironically his u-turn followed one of their worst footballing displays in recent weeks as a play-off chasing Southend squeezed their hosts into submission.
Simon Francis's 20-yard winner on 19 minutes may have taken a hugely fortuitous deflection of skipper Hasney Aljofree but, after letting him run 20 yards unchallenged, there could be no complaints.
Former Southend striker Billy Paynter, who replaced Barry Corr on 45 minutes, should have salvaged a point with two golden late chances.
His close-range strike was brilliantly headed off the line by Clarke on 83 minutes and soon after he ballooned a shot over from yards out after clever approach play by Simon Cox.
In the dying seconds Lee Peacock almost snatched the equaliser but, the final seven minutes apart, Town were continually second best to their hungrier opponents.
Malpas said: "I don't think we played particularly well but we had three great chances at the end and what we must do is start scoring.
"We need to win before we lose all our confidence.
"It looks as though in front of goal at the moment it has to be a real stick on before we will score at the moment.
"We have to far better than that. We have to be more energetic, keener and give the opposition more problems."
Lee Peacock's introduction at half time, for Timlin, did tighten the centre of Town's midfield up but they still lacked the necessary cutting edge.