Beaten Blues on the brink

Southend United 2-3 Burton Albion

TROUBLED SOUTHEND UNITED are now a mammoth fifteen points adrift in the Sky bet League One relegation zone as Burton Albion inflicted a fifth-successive defeat on Sol Campbell’s young charges at Roots Hall Stadium.

Burton – who arrived in south-east Essex without a win in six – took the lead through Lucas Akins. However, Sam Mantom restored parity before the break with a bizarre deflected effort.

But after the break, the game went away from Southend. Ryan Edwards added a second before Jamie Murphy sealed the points for the Staffordshire side.

A late own-goal from former Blues loanee, John-Joe O’Toole, glossed the scoreline for the home side. This was their twenty-third defeat of a season which so far has seen them ship eighty-two goals.

Speaking to www.southendUnited.co.uk after the game, boss Campbell bemoaned: “I think we started extremely slow early on and we couldn’t get out of the blocks. I was disappointed with that and it took a goal for us to wake up. We get the goal back, we’re on top – probing – had some really good chances but we’ve got to stick them away and take the game away from Burton in the first half.

“First half was really good, but second half we took far too long to get back into the game and then they got their goals. I’m just saying to myself I don’t understand why we’re not in the right positions and giving really easy chances.

The former England defender continued: “The main thing for me when we look back at the goals, we’ve just got to cut out the elementary ones. It’s not like they’re doing something amazing, they’re just putting the ball into a good area, we’re not covering properly or we’re giving the ball away on the 18-yard box – it’s elementary stuff.

“It comes down to the players just being switched on and having that awareness of dangers, and sometimes it’s not there with some of the players. They’re working hard, but there’s limitations.”

Southend United return to Sky Bet League One action on Saturday, February 29 when they take on Oxford United at the Kassam Stadium (3pm).

Southend United: Gunnarsson, Bwomono, Milligan, Dieng (Capt), McLaughlin, Mantom (Barratt 69’), Shaughnessy, Kelman, Clifford, Egbri (Kinali 59’), Mitchell-Nelson. Subs not used: Seaden, Goodship, Kyprianou, Hutchinson, Rush

Burton Albion: O’Hara, Brayford (Capt), Daniel, Edwards (Sbarra 78’), Quinn (Wallace 90’), Akins, Shaughnessy, Sarkic (Broadhead 62’), O’Toole, Powell, Murphy Subs not used: Garratt, Fraser, Hutchinson, Thomas

Referee: Craig Hicks

Assistants: Leigh Crowhurst and Stuart Butler

Fourth Official: Neil Lugg

Attendance: 5,571 (142 from Burton Albion)

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Brian Jeeves

Email: [email protected]