Battling Blues move out of the dropzone

Cambridge United 0-0 Southend United

Battling Southend United edged out of the Sky Bet League Two relegation zone for the first time since October thanks to a resolute and disciplined performance at high-flying Cambridge United.

Despite the bitter conditions, the Cambridge ground staff had worked tirelessly to ensure the game went ahead, although unsurprisingly, on a difficult surface early exchanges were somewhat agricultural and scruffy.
Indeed, it was Blues who almost profited from the swirling wind.

Goalkeeper, Mark Oxley, almost caught out his opposite number, Callum Burton with a punt forward which bounced awkwardly on the solid surface.

Blues continued to match the league leaders. Elvis Bwomono’s driven centre was nodded clear as Emile Acquah looked set to pounce. Meanwhile, Oxley kept the hosts at bay with a superb save, diving to his right to deny Adam May.

Blues keeper, Mark Oxley, almost opened the scoring with a long punt forward (Kieran Galvin ActionFotoSport)

Ashley Nathaniel-George’s route to goal was blocked as Blues started the second period similarly – Dieng and Simeon Akinola also causing problems when prepared to probe the Cambridge backline. In response, Luke Hannant fired across the face of goal as the struggle for a foothold commenced.

Oxley fisted clear after Hannant had won possession on the left. Meanwhile, Kyle Taylor was off target after Acquah had centred, then the latter blasted into the side netting as battling Blues gave as good as they got.

Shaun Hobson perhaps should have done better, heading over from close range after Cambridge has struggled to clear their lines. Blues with good cause to argue that they should have been ahead at this stage.

Nevertheless, well-deserved back-to-back clean sheets and four points on the road against promotion-chasing sides is a huge return for Mark Molesley’s side.

Southend United return to Sky Bet League Two action on Saturday, February 20 when Bolton Wanderers are the visitors to Roots Hall Stadium (3pm).

Cambridge United: Callum Burton, Kyle Knoyle, Jack Iredale, Greg Taylor (Capt), Declan Orysdale, Luke Hannant, Paul Mullin, Wes Hoolahan (Liam O’Neil 90+2’), Jubril Okedina, Adam May (Shilow Tracey 66’), Joe Ironside Subs not used: Kai-McKenzie-Lyle (GK), Aji Alese, Leon Davies, Harvey Kibbs, Ben Worman

Booked: Adam May (deliberate handball), Jubril Okedina (foul), Paul Mullin (foul)
Goals: None

Southend United: Mark Oxley, Elvis Bwomono, Shaun Hobson, Timothee Dieng, Simeon Akinola (Brandon Goodship 87’), Tom Clifford, Emile Acquah, Ashley Nataniel-George, Kyle Taylor (Reeco Hackett-Fairchild 70’), Nathan Ferguson, John White (Capt) Subs not used: Harry Seaden (GK), Tyler Cordner, Greg Halford, Jason Demetriou, Sam Hart

Booked: None
Goals: None

Referee: Ross Joyce
Assistants: Matthew Smith and Nicolas Cooper
Fourth Official: Michael Webb

Brian Jeeves

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