Blues fail to press the point

Stevenage 0 Southend United 0
Sky Bet League Two

Southend paid the price for poor finishing as they continue to prop up the Football League, after a stalemate in Hertfordshire, on Saturday.

The Shrimpers made a steady start and Brandon Goodship – feeding off a Tom Clifford set-piece – forced home keeper, Jamie Cumming, into a flying save – one for the cameras.

A strangely quiet Stevenage seemed content to soak up Southend pressure, and were almost made to pay, on 14 minutes, when an unmarked Richard Taylor should have hit the target from Clifford’s flag-kick.

The returning Alan McCormack – all of 36 years old and back with Southend after a ten-year hiatus – showed little ring rustiness and volleyed Jason Demetriou’s cross only inches over Cumming’s goal as the visitors began to assert their superiority.

Only towards the interval did the hosts begin to press – but the Shrimpers back line – with Harry Kyprianou on for the striker Clifford – comfortably held out, snuffing out a punchless Borough attack.

After the turnaround Stevenage were quicker out of the traps, but failed to really trouble keeper, Mark Oxley. Their only noteworthy goalbound effort saw Tyrone Marsh crash his half volley against the top of the Southend crossbar.

Fancying their chances, and with the diminutive Terrell Egbri on for the last quarter, the Shrimpers attacked with purpose.

First, McCormack tested Cumming with a rasping drive, before a subdued Brandon Goodship could only find the side-netting.

Egbri then wasted an excellent chance – shooting wide with only Cumming to beat.

Then, in the dying moments, a startled McCormack found himself in acres of space. But, instead of turning and shooting into an empty net, he elected to try and find a team mate and the chance was gone.

A stoppage time Stevenage rally saw Aramide Oteh literally inches away from connecting to a Ben Coker cross. But, that would have been an injustice after much-improved Southend performance.

Shrimpers’ boss, Mark Moseley said: “We need to be more clinical  and punish teams – unfortunately, that has been the story of our season.”

“Unfortunately, there have also been too many upsets to team selection – especially with John White forced to withdraw so late. Then we lost Tom Clifford with a ‘dead’ leg, today.”

He admitted: ”Today’s game probably wasn’t one for the purists. There was a lot riding on it and it was a battling performance from both teams. But, at the moment, it’s about showing fight and endeavour.”

Praising the re-signed McCormack, Moseley added: “Macca’s got that drive, determination and experience in abundance. It’s great to have him back. He’s been sorely missed and another to have played ninety minutes.”

“It’s a very young side – as we’ve had to wait for likes of Jason Demetriou and John White to return. So, Alan’s a good addition – but we must look after him this week in training.”

Opposing manager, and former Southend striker, Alex Revell, added: “It’s a point at home and moves us out of the relegation zone – where we shouldn’t be – but we are.”

“I’d imagine Southend would be disappointed not to be coming away with the win – as they had some good chances at the end”.

Blues’ centre-back Richard Hobson was satisfied with the result: “We’ll take the point – we’d have liked the three – but it’s also a clean sheet. We haven’t had a lot of luck – this season – but it’s a step in the right direction. We can take the confidence we’ve gained from today and bring it into next week.”

The Manchester-born defender concluded: “The likes of Jason Demetriou and Alan McCormack are always bickering in training, but they do add significant experience to the side and a steadying influence.”

Stevenage: Jamie Cumming,  Remeao Hutton, Luke Prosser (captain), Terrence Vancooten, Ben Coker, Charlie Carter (Elliott List 67), Romain Vincelot, Tom Pett (Arthur Read 80), Tyrone Marsh, Aramide Oteh, Danny Newton. Subs (not used): Billy Johnson, Luther James-Wildin, Femi Akinwande, Jack Smith, Ross Marshall.

Southend United: Mark Oxley, Elvis Bwomono, Shaun Hobson, Timothee Dieng, Tom Clifford, (Harry Kyprianou 23), Richard Taylor (Terrell Egbri 79), James Olayinka, Alan McCormack, Jason Demetriou (captain), Brandon Goodship, Emile Acquah. Subs (not used):  Harry Seaden (gk), Harry Phillips, Matt Rush, Oliver Coker, Kenny Coker.

Referee: Declan Bourne

Assistant Referees: Kevin Howick, Scott Williams

Fourth Official: Kevin Johns

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Rowland Lyons

Email: sport@yellowad.co.uk