Opposition Insight | Southend United

By Brad Saxton | Image by Mark Comer

Ahead of this weekend’s Vanarama National League encounter, we take an in-depth look at our opponents, Southend United.  

Current Form

The Shrimpers had a tough start to the new National League season, having had a ten points deduction, which sees them currently sit at the foot of the league table.

However, promising form in their opening eight games has seen them take four wins and a draw from their opening eight games as they look to move out of the relegation zone.

Southend start the opening month of the season with a mixed set of results, opening their campaign with back-to-back wins over Oldham Athletic on the opening day, followed by a 2-0 victory at Dagenham and Redbridge.

On the road so far this season, the win at Dagenham has been their only win that they’ve collected, having suffered defeats at Dorking Wanderers and Bromley. They were also forced to settle for a point in their most recent game at FC Halifax Town, having led earlier on in the game in front of the TNT Sports cameras.

Heading into this weekend’s game, Southend sit one place and one point behind the Minstermen having taken thirteen points from a possible twenty-four in their opening eight league games.


Kevin Maher became the club’s Head Coach in October 2021 and saw them finish just outside the National League play-off positions last season.

After beginning his career in the youth set-up at Tottenham Hotspur, Maher moved to Southend in January 1998 and soon broke into the first-team set-up at Roots Hall, starting what would prove to be a long affiliation with the football club.

Over the ten years he spent there as a player, he worked his way up to become team and club captain, helping them to successive promotions from League Two up to the Championship. Over his time as a player with the club, he made over 400 appearances for The Shrimpers.

After leaving Southend in 2008 to pursue new opportunities, Maher later went on to feature for the likes of Oldham Athletic, Gillingham, and Dagenham & Redbridge in his playing career.

After retiring in 2014, he began his coaching career by becoming Head Coach of National League South club Chelmsford. After a short spell with the Essex club, Maher returned to Southend in a coaching capacity, starting by assisting the U21’s and Youth Team, before being appointed at U21 manager.

Only two months later, he returned to Chelmsford to become the club’s new caretaker manager in January 2016 until the end of the season, before he went on to become caretaker manager with Football League side Bristol Rovers on two separate occasions ahead of his return to Southend.

Top Scorer

After joining The Shrimpers part way through the 2021/22 season, Cardwell has become a key player in the Southend attack.

Originally from Beverley in East Yorkshire, the forward turned out for Scotland at U19 level having played in the youth academies of Hull City, Reading and Brighton & Hove Albion.

Described as a powerful centre forward, Cardwell is strong and skilful with a good turn of pace and brings excellent movement in the leading the attacking line in the final third.

The 26-year-old became a regular goal scorer in the 2021/22 National League North season prior to his move down to Essex, having scored seven times in fourteen appearances that campaign.

So far this season, Cardwell has scored five times in eight appearances for the club.

One To Watch

Jack Bridge is someone who Minstermen supporters will be familiar with, having scored both goals against City in Southend’s 2-0 win at Roots Hall in the National League last season back in February.

With EFL experience under his belt having previously represented Northampton Town and Carlisle United, the tricky wide-man joined Southend in the summer of 2021 having spent the second half of the 2020/21 campaign with Bromley.

Bridge has become a key player for The Shrimpers over the last couple of years as he now enters his third season as a Southend United player.

He’s only found the back of the net once this season, which came in their 3-2 home defeat to Hartlepool United in the middle of August, but he’ll be hoping to be more prolific in front of goal between now and the end of the season and build on his record of 13 goals in 35 National League appearances last season.

Previous Head-to-Heads

The two club’s have a rich history of going head-to-head against each other, with majority of those fixtures taking part predominantly in the Old Division Three and Four.

City first faced Southend in December 1929, where the Minstermen ran out 4-1 winners against The Shrimpers in the FA Cup.

The Minstermen’s last competitive league win over Southend came in April 2013, when a 2-1 victory at Bootham Crescent helped the club reclaim their league safety in League Two in our first year back in the Football League.

Following City’s relegation back to the National League however in 2016, the two sides had to wait until October 2022 to take each other on again, in which Southend ran out as 2-0 winners on their first-ever visit to the LNER Community Stadium.

As mentioned above, two goals from Jack Bridge saw Southend run out as 2-0 winners in the return contest as Roots Hall in February, but a week later saw the Minstermen seek revenge and run out 2-0 winners themselves in an Isuzu FA Trophy 5th Round tie.