Blues battle back for deserved point

22 Nov

Southend United picked up a valuable point at high-flying Shrewsbury Town after Anthony Grant scored a superb late equaliser at a foggy Greenhous Meadow on Saturday.
After a seven month sabbatical from all things Shrimpers-related following last season’s ineptitude it was my first game of the season, and ridiculously Jai, Piers, Andy and I found ourselves in the homely Bull pub close to the station at 10.30am, after securing cheap tickets on early trains from London.
However time flew by over several ales and discussion ranged from our injury crisis (would any of our centre backs be fit?), bemoaning the fact Shrewsbury no longer play at Gay Meadow (Jai had been there seven times, sadly I never went), road trips across the States, and Piers’ ongoing love affair with 80s-influenced rockers the Feeling, who strangely came on the pub jukebox.
After wandering around the attractive town centre we failed to find a pub showing Arsenal-Spurs and ended up in the up market Morgans bar. We then hopped in a cab and arrived at the ground, which is a carbon copy of Colchester’s Care in the Community Stadium, at about 2.30pm. It had been a great day out, but now we all braced ourselves for the football to ruin it, as so often has been the case in the past.
At 3pm I got my first glimpse of the new players in a hideous burgundy kit. Bilel Moshni was sporting a rugby-style face mask, up against former Shrimper Matt Harrold. The first half was turgid, we offered nothing going forward, looked bereft of confidence and shaky at the back. We had a let off when Morris saved well at the feet of a Shrews’ striker who sprung the offside trap, while Anthony Grant stabbed wide our best chance of the half.
Straight after the break we fell behind to a well struck goal after the offside trap was beaten all too easily, and it looked like another depressing defeat on the road. But as the half wore on Southend grew back into the game, had more possession and started to look more threatening, albeit without creating many clear cut chances. Antonio German came on for Sturrock and offfered more bite in attack. Shrewsbury did not look like a top three team, an off day perhaps or a sign there is little between teams in this league.
With about 15 minutes to go there was a melee involving Moshni and Shrewsbury players after he went in late on their keeper. The Shrewsbury hardcore to our right screamed for the Frenchman to be sent off, but he was only booked. I loved the fact he was showing a bit of passion, but it seems like he needs to control his temper more.
With time ticking away Harry Crawford and Barry Corr came on and again we looked more menacing, but a few half chances went begging. Then with three minutes to go Craig Easton floated in a great cross and Anthony Grant ghosted in to volley into the top right hand corner with his left foot, a sweet finish and no less than we deserved. Ecstasy in the away end, and it was down the front for me to celebrate in front of the players.
On the way back I apologised to a woman I had barged past during the mental, only to discover she was Craig Easton’s wife. Fair play to her for coming in the away end!
We saw out the four minutes injury time to secure an excellent away point, and if we can build on the second half performance then there is reason for hope.
After a 20 minute cab ride back to the station we were astounded to be charged just four quid for the privilege, it’s cheap up north.
We then boarded an empty train back to London, with Jamie frequently repeating himself due to the fact he had been drinking since about 7am (yes we know you went to Gay Meadow seven times mate!).
All in all a great away day, and for once the team didn’t let us down. Up the Shrimpers!

Ed Beavan


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