Paul Sturrock paid tribute to super-sub Bilel Mohsni after the striker's late double against Crewe fired Southend back to the top of League Two.

Crewe full-back Harry Davis cancelled out Kane Ferdinand's first-half opener only for Moshni to come off the bench and seal all three points with two goals in the last three minutes of the game. That secured a 3-1 victory, much to the delight of Sturrock.

He said: "Bilel gave us an extra threat and he and Ryan Hall coming on changed the game. I told him to get in the box as soon as Hall crossed it. It seemed to work. Hall is a crossing machine and if you have a man the size of Bilel coming in at the far post, he is going to score goals."

He added: "The boys looked a bit sluggish and in a second half Crewe dominated so we are very pleased because this is a difficult place to come and get a result.

"I was very disappointed with conceding but Crewe deserved to get an equaliser.

"But the players are showing their character. They weathered the storm and are made of hard stuff."

Dario Gradi was disappointed to see Crewe slip to a late defeat, but was loathe to criticise the players too much.

Gradi said: "They didn't win easily and I actually thought we were the better side. We created more chances than them but we didn't punish their mistakes while they they punished us for ours.

"Conceding late goals is becoming a bit of a bad habit of late but I am not going to lift the players by moaning at them. They are down and disappointed.

"We've got to improve our play and we have certainly got to improve our defending although I don't think we are that far off. They have beefed up their team and I realise I will have to do the same."

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