25 Oct

Barnet 0 – 3 Southend

SOUTHEND United eased to a comfortable 3-0 win away at Underhill last night against a poor-looking Barnet side. Arriving at the Old Red Lion pub before kick off, it was clear there were hundreds of Shimpers’ fans in attendance, and on entering the ground at about 7.15 we outnumbered them by about ten to one. After being barred from selling the fanzine by an over-zealous security manager, I joined the rest of the All At Sea boys on the side terrace packed with 1216 Blues fans, almost half the crowd of 2,744.

Southend made several changes from the team which beat Torquay on Saturday, with Neil Harris, Jean Paul Kalala and Kane Ferdinand dropping to the bench, and Luke Prosser out injured. In came Anthony Grant, Ryan Leonard, Chris Barker and Bilel Mohsni, while new loan keeper Luke Daniels made his debut for the injured Glenn Morris. Bizarrely the French-Tunisian was playing in left midfield, meaning he has just about played in every position for us, except in goal.

Southend looked dangerous from the kick off and Ryan Hall missed a good early chance before Phillips headed over from a corner. However, immediately down the other end Barnet earned a penalty after Phillips rashly hacked down a Barnet player for a clear penalty. However, Izale McLeod, who used to be quite good, blazed the spotkick high over the bar almost into the adjoining gardens behind the goal, much to the delight of the Southend fans. After that you got the feeling it was going to be our night.

The Shrimpers were playing the ball round nicely and on 17 minutes took the lead, when a ball through the left channel from Peter Gilbert was superbly put away by Ryan Hall who was partnering Liam Dickinson upfront. Hall turned his marker superbly to lash the ball in on the volley catching the Barnet keeper unawares.

After a few more chances were wasted Southend went 2-0 up in unusual circumstances after Bilel Mohsni stabbed home a right wing cross. Initially it appeared the goal had been ruled out as the linesman had his flag up for offside, but after an earful from Mohsni and a long chat between the ref and lino, the goal was, correctly as far as I could see, given.

So 2-0 and we were cruising. Michael Timlin was everywhere in midfield and Dickinson was holding the ball up well up front. Barnet looked woeful and despite having some possession created very little, I can’t remember Daniels having a shot to save in the first half.

In the second half Southend eased off the gas a bit as they played up the Underhill slope and allowed the Bees to come back into the game a bit, although continued to look dangerous on the break. Daniels made a point blank save from a header while Hall continued to cause Barnet problems with his pace, shooting just wide twice. Dickinson also missed a golden chance when through one on one on with the keeper, and Timlin hit a shot into the side netting. Hall’s speed eventually led to the dismissal of Bees’ defender Darren Dennehy who hauled him down when through on goal for a second yellow card.

Ironically Barnet started to get into the game more with ten men, but their final ball continued to be woeful. Blues brought on Neil Harris and Kane Ferdinand with ten minutes to go, and Harris wrapped the game up with a tap in after good work on the right hand side and an excellent cross from Ryan Leonard.

So, a cracking Tuesday night away trip for all Blues fans in a game packed with incident, terrace banter and most importantly another three points. That’s nine games unbeaten now as the quest to get back into League One goes on.

Ed Beavan


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