Bishop checkmate for lacklustre Blues

Southend United 0 Accrington Stanley 1

Sky Bet League One

Watching in the stands Sweden and Celtic legend, Henrik Larsson was given more ‘food for thought’ after ten-man Southend crashed to their fifth home defeat of an increasingly frustrating season, on Saturday.

Stanley – consequently – picked up their first away win of the new campaign, with Colby Bishop hit a second-half winner. Nathan Ralph then saw red for a second caution.

The visitors made all the early running and Colby Bishop went close before the managerless Blues hit back, with Simon Cox’s 13th minute pot shot flying inches wide.

Three minutes later the masked, fit-again Stephen Humphrys went close with a crashing half-volley, as the hosts sought to impose themselves on a shaky Accrington defence.

However, their efforts almost came to nothing when a half-cleared Accrington free-kick fell to Sam Finley’s 23rd minute effort took a wicked off Ethan Hamilton, but Mark Oxley cleverly readjusted to make a fine tip-over with a shot that had ‘goal’ written all over it.

Unfortunately, the game became foul-strewn, with the referee, Charles Breakspear busy – booking Ralph and Stanley’s Callum Johnson. Adding to Southend’s long injury list, Charlie Kelman and Simon Cox both left the fray well before the turnaround.

Within three minutes of the restart Stanley went close with Jordan Clark’s searching cross desperately cleared by Elvis Bwomono.

However, the hosts failed to need the Accrington warning when their left-back, Jerome Opoku was allowed the freedom of Roots Hall to pick out Bishop, who tapped home on 52 minutes, from inside the six-yard box.

Southend offered nothing in reply and with Bishop departing for the Congolese striker, Offrande Zanzala – and with his first touch – should have put the game out of reach, but horribly headed Johnson’s 63rd minute cross into the 135 travelling supporters.

Still looking for the clincher, an unchallenged Finley went closer – on 71 minutes – but Oxley made the all-important tip-over.

As if Southend’s afternoon couldn’t get any worse – it did – when Ralph saw red – a second yellow card – for a poor challenge on Finley – still with 17 minutes remaining.

Desperate to keep the score even at one-nil, Oxley did well to deny McConville – from point-blank range – after Finley – in the space vacated by the dismissed Ralph – all too easily crossed.

Despite Humphry’s best effort in almost single-handedly leading the line, Southend – worryingly – failed to trouble visiting gloveman, Dimitri Evtimov all afternoon.

Reaction to follow…

Southend United: Mark Oxley, Elvis Bwomono, Harry Lennon, Rob Kiernan, Nathan Ralph, Stephen McLaughlin, Ethan Hamilton (Isaac Hutchinson 83), Mark Milligan (capt), Charlie Kelman (Brandon Goodship 20) Simon Co (Sam Mantom 43), Stephen Humphrys. Subs: Nathan Bishop, Luke Hyam, Joe O’Shaughnessy, Jason Demetriou.

Accrington Stanley: Dimitar Evtimov, Callum Johnson, Ross Sykes, Mark Hughes, Jordan Clark, Sam Finley, Sean McConville, Colby Bishop (Offrande Zanzala 58), Seamus Conneelly (capt), Dion Charles, (Joe Pritchard 84), Jerome Opoku. Subs: Josef Bursik, Phil Edwards, Lamine Kaba Sherif, Aji Alese, Sadou Diallo.

Referee: Charles Breakspear

Assistants: Gregory Read, Aaron Farmer

Fourth Official: Marc Wilson

Attendance: 5,643.


Rowland Lyons