Friday fever as Fleetwood are toppled

19 Oct

Ryan Cresswell finished on the losing side during his return to Roots Hall.

Ryan Cresswell finished on the losing side during his return to Roots Hall.

FOR the first time in ten months, Southend finally enjoyed a good Friday feeling as Barry Corr’s double saw off big-spenders Fleetwood Town.
Corr bundled home his first goal since early August from Kevan Hurst’s deep cross on 21 minutes and then added a second from the spot to calm Shrimpers’ fans nerves with nine minutes left.
Much of the pre-match talk had surrounded ex-Shrimper Ryan Cresswell as he revealed off-pitch problems had let to him seeking a move away from Roots Hall.
But any negative vibes at Roots Hall were quickly erased by a superb team performance to overcome a strong Fleetwood side, who could afford the luxury of leaving £450,000 signing Jamille Matt on the bench.
Lone striker David Ball was the main threat to Southend as the visitors sought an early goal. Twice, the ex-Peterborough striker warmed the hands of Daniel Bentley in the opening 20 minutes.
However, with Kevan Hurst in the team, Barry Corr’s goal drought was always likely to end soon. After a right wing corner was cleared unconvincingly by Junior Brown, Hurst sent the ball back in with interest, and Corr was at the far post to outmuscle his marker and bundle the ball in with his midriff.
It was the early goal Southend needed to settle the nerves after four Roots Hall matches without a victory. The midfield trio of Leonard, Atkinson and Clifford worked tirelessly to press their opponents into conceding possession and after a mad first twently minutes when Mark Phillips seemed to find a red shirt with every pass, he and Robbie Kiernan defended manfully.
However, Bentley had the frame of the goal to thank to keep his sheet clean. Sarcevic’s free kick had the youngster well-beaten, but his curling effort bounced back off the upright. Conor Clifford had put the slightest of deflections onto the shot which probably saved his side.
Clifford himself had a dipping free kick bother Scott Davies, but the ball landed on the roof of the net.
The best chance Fleetwood had fell when Blues were caught by a swift counter attack, and Antoni Sarcevic smashed an angled drive at Bentley and then saw a follow-up blocked.
The second half began with visitors’ winger Ryan Crowther sending a fizzing drive just wide of the post, but Southend were also unlucky when Ben Coker’s dangerous, inswinging free kick from the right channel had to be pushed out by the alert Davies.
Corr then headed off target at the far post when he should have done better, and the visitors brought on Jon Parkin and Jamille Matt to try and create an aerial threat.
Southend though stood firm, and despite the visitors’ enjoying plenty of possession, Daniel Bentley did not have to make a save.
With 81 minutes gone, Will Atkinson’s surging run into the box was needlessly ended by Jeff Hughes, whose trip was correctly punished by the referee. Barry Corr shook off the attentions of Conor Clifford to claim the right to take it, and sent the ball high into Davies’ right-hand corner.
Clifford could have made it three two minutes later when he found space on the edge of the box, but his low drive struck the outside of the post.
In the end it was a comfortable last few minutes for Southend, whose determination and work rate had nullified their high-flying opponents. Ryan Cresswell stayed behind to clap all four sides of the ground, but the big number 16 cut a pleasingly disconsolate figure as the home fans celebrated a rare home success.


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