Southend manager Mark Molesley was left ruing a “freak moment” in his side’s 1-0 defeat to Bolton at Roots Hall.
An 82nd-minute goal from Bolton substitute Shaun Miller secured a third successive win for the visitors.
But Molesley could not believe how the goal came around as Shrimpers goalkeeper Mark Oxley failed to deal with a high ball inside the six-yard box.
“I last saw a goal like that 12 or 14 years ago, it’s held up in the wind and hit the back of the crossbar before somehow spinning back round,” said Molesley, whose team remain a point above the drop zone in 22nd.
“There’s a shout for it being off the pitch but it’s a real freak moment.
“In the second half I thought we looked really solid and we didn’t look like conceding at all.
“It’s taken a freak moment to undo us and their boy has done well to turn it home.
“But he must have thought all his Christmases had come at once there.
Bolton, who have now recorded three successive wins, were on top for most of the first half with Eoin Doyle seeing a low effort cleared off the line by Elvis Bwomono and Marcus Maddison firing inches over from long range.
The second half was short of chances but Bolton managed to secure all three points late on when Oxley failed to collect a looping ball after an attempted clearance from John White struck Antoni Sarcevic and looped high up into the air.
The ball bounced out to Miller who gleefully fired home his first League goal of the season to push Bolton up to 10th in the League Two table, much to the delight of manager Ian Evatt.
“It’s a good win but we won’t be resting on our laurels,” said Evatt.
“You have to find a way to win the game and we’ve done that.
“We could have made it more comfortable for ourselves in the first half with the opportunities we had.
“But Matt (Gilks) has not had a save to make all afternoon and away from home that’s very pleasing.”
And Evatt was also pleased to see Miller on target.
“Any squad of players are only as good as the ones out of the team,” said Evatt.
“The ones in the team are easy to keep happy and on board it’s the rest of them you need to keep on board and switched on.
“I tell them all the time they will be needed and Shaun is in there to score, which is what all good strikers do.
“But we’re coming together as a team now and there’s real togetherness and closeness in the squad.”
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