Southend boss Paul Sturrock is fearing a defensive crisis as the games come thick and fast for his promotion chasers.

With injuries already to defender Chris Barker and Mark Phillips, the dismissal of centre-half Ryan Cresswell in the 1-1 draw at Accrington has added to his woes.

"It's exasperating," said Sturrock. "We will now miss Ryan for three games and we already have injuries. We have to try and bring people in but the positions we need them in changes every game.

"We have massive games with Cheltenham, Northampton and Leyton Orient in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy and we will have to change it around again. Ryan is one of our rocks at the back and Chris and Mark are two key defenders who are missing with injuries. It will be a makeshift side we put together for some big matches."

Sturrock had no complaints with the sending-off, though, after Cresswell tangled with Stanley scorer James Gray near the dugouts as they jumped for a header.

"Ryan got an elbow in the face and then it was a rush of blood and he grabbed the lad and you can't do that," said the Scot.

Stanley boss Leam Richardson was left to bemoan Kevan Hurst's 82nd-minute wonder goal which denied his struggling side only their second win of 2013.

Gray had put his side into a 58th-minute lead before Cresswell saw red but Stanley could not hold on for a much-needed win.

"They didn't really cause us problems but then you have to hold your hands up with goals like that," said Richardson. "You would rather they scored like that than through a mistake by us. But it shows how good a performance it was by us that Southend will be rubbing their hands that they got a point.

"I am so proud of the players and, if we continue to put in performances like that, we will win a lot of games and be okay. You could see that, with the couple of additions we made in January, we are stronger and things are beginning to come together. We are a good team and we showed Southend that."