Gone for a Burton

3 Oct

John Spicer was sent off early on

JOHN Spicer’s needless sending off ruined a great chance of three points from this match against a poor Burton outfit.
With just 35 fans making the journey down from Staffordshire and with the visitors’ leading scorer Calvin Zola missing with a hamstring complaint, this was an ideal opportunity for Blues to leapfrog their visitors and get into the playoff places.
However, after taking a poor touch from a Timlin pass inside the centre circle, Spicer lunged in, studs showing, on ex-Southend striker Matt Paterson, in the 11th minute. A few years ago, the former Arsenal man would have received a yellow card at worst for the offence, but in today’s climate the referee had no option but to bring out the red card.
A reorganisation saw Kevan Hurst move inside with Freddy Eastwood, who had started ahead of Elliot Benyon, dropping into a deeper role behind Britt Assombalonga.
For the remaining 80 minutes, Blues defied their numerical disadvantage with a gutsy performance. However, too often the final ball into the box was poor and although Hurst was tidy in his new role, his corners were uncharacteristically below-par.
It was always going to be a set piece or a cross that would lead to Southend’s breakthrough, although the visitors were very average and seemed intent on pumping long balls for Luke Prosser and Ryan Cresswell to deal with comfortably.
Southend’s best chances fell in the first half to Dave Martin, who skied over after a Clohessy cross reached him 12 yards out, and to Kevan Hurst, who nodded a cross from Martin wide after the ex-Millwall man had created space for the cross with some excellent wingplay. The lively Assombalonga also glanced a header inches wide in the first few minutes of the second half.
There were other instances where Southend took too long over the final shot, but with Paul Sturrock hampered in the changes he was able to make, as the game wore on, the danger of a goal from the visitors was ever-present.
Eventually, with the board for stoppage time about to go up, the otherwise excellent Timlin lunged into a tackle he had no need to make 30 yards out, and Jacques Maghoma, sent off in this fixture two years previously, hit a free-kick which beat the wall and Bentley at his near post.
It was a horrible way to lose a game which, with a full quota of players on the pitch, the home side would have won comfortably. Goalkeeper Tomlinson celebrated wildly in front of the South Stand at the final whistle, but on this performance from the Brewers, he is unlikely to get to celebrate much else this season. And unless Southend’s transfer embargo is lifted and reinforcements are brought in, neither will the home supporters.


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