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MOTM: Southend United 0-1 Bolton Wanderers

Lee chooses his MOTM from Saturdays game

Southend United v Bolton Wanderers - Sky Bet League Two Photo by Jacques Feeney/Getty Images

On a beach of a pitch and in a honker of a game, Wanderers somehow found a way to win as Mark Oxley channelled his inner Jordan Pickford and thankfully Shaun Miller channelled his inner Divock Origi to give us the scrappy win we all yearned.

So now I choose the best of a belligerent bunch for my MOTM...

Despite the dire nature of the encounter, there were a number of performers who shone by the seaside. Alex Baptiste reaffirmed his continued good form with a stellar showing at centre-back. MJ Williams did an awful lot of dirty work to stem the tide, as Southend looked to engineer a way past us in the second half. Their wily substitute 33 year-old Ricky Holmes, making his debut for the Shrimpers, being front and centre of all things good for the basement dwellers.

Dapo Afolayan continued to look bright and breezy but again faded, while King Arthur made another important cameo, his nimble footwork indirectly leading to the comical goal that gifted us the win, when for all the world it looked as if we’d run entirely out of ideas down on the coast. And of course huge kudos to Miller for his concentration and in keeping his composure and technique to fire in the winner.

My MOTM, though, is someone who I was suggested to is always good, so shouldn’t necessarily win the award. Well, if he’s always good then he deserves some recognition in my honest opinion.

That man is the cockney Portuguese man-mountain that is Ricardo Alexandre Almeida Santos, or ‘the wall’, as he is fast becoming known as.

I was having a debate with a couple of EFL pundits on Twitter earlier today about the description that his gaffer Ian Evatt bestowed upon him of the best (perhaps he said one of the best) centre-half below the Championship. Now, the obvious drawbacks of his performance level in his first 2 or 3 games, coupled with the abomination of his Port Vale disasterclass at the UniBol at the start of December, mean this is a big shout. The sample size is too shallow thus far clearly, yet I seriously believe he has the tools to be the best at our level and play in the Championship, at least.

At just 25 years-old he can still refine the positional and tactical elements of his game and his pure physical attributes, confidence in ball progression and his passing ability mean that he has it all to make it in the much higher echelons of English football. He is unparalleled in one-on-one duels, is starting to win as many headers as a 6ft 6inch man should and you can forget trying to beat him in a foot race.

Those intangibles such as leadership, communication and galvanising his teammates are difficult to assess from behind a laptop screen but if he continues playing like this with a faithful and determined lieutenant alongside him in Baptiste, then he could be the rock, sorry, the wall that our promotion hopes are built upon. And for that I am extremely grateful.

Trying to pick out examples from Saturday is a step too far for me, as the IPA’s mounted and alas my ability to recall faded. But he was good. Trust me.

Onto Scunthorpe at the UniBol with a spring in our step and feel good vibes swirling all around us.