5 Sep

Ryan Cresswell scored the winner after being sent upfront

A LAST-GASP header from Ryan Cresswell earned Southend a deserved passage into the second round of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.
Southend should have been out of sight by half time. Gavin Tomlin struck a post when it looked easier to score, and Ryan Leonard headed a cross by Michael Timlin against the crossbar. However, the home side went in at the break a goal behind after Brendan Kiernan had got in unopposed down the left and crossed for Frankie Merrifield to slot the ball past debutant Paul Smith on 39 minutes.
Blues drew level when Britt Assombalonga tricked his way past two defenders on the left flank and was clumsily bundled over by loanee defender George Francomb. Gavin Tomlin took the penalty and slotted it neatly into the bottom left corner of the goal, sending Mikhael Jaimez-Ruiz the wrong way.
Southend continued to press, and Jaimez-Ruiz denied Assombalonga and John Spicer with excellent saves.
Smith had to be alert at the other end when sub Chris Barker almost diverted a cross into his own net, but in the final minute of stoppage time, fellow sub Neil Harris crossed for Ryan Cresswell, sent up front in the dying moments, to head powerfully past the goalkeeper.


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