Blues fans call for Ron to go despite Ferguson’s winner

Brian Jeeves
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Southend United v Eastleigh – Vanarama National League South – Roots Hall Stadium – Report

Southend United 1-0 Eastleigh

It was scrappy, grubby and down-right awful to watch, but Southend United managed to claw their way out of the Vanarama National League dropzone thanks to Nathan Ferguson’s second-half winner against a dogged Eastleigh side at Roots Hall Stadium.

Four defeats on the bounce – Seven without a win – Both the Chairman and Manager under siege from angry Blues fans. I think it’s fair to say, it’s a pretty toxic environment at Roots Hall Stadium just now.

Indeed, Phil Brown acknowledged that his own position was under threat. The Blues chief made five changes to the side that had meekly surrendered at Solihull Moors. Most notably, Simeon Akinola was called in from the cold, having seemingly been surplus to requirements at Roots Hall.

A section of the crowd – Southend’s smallest of the season – displayed banners and chanted ‘Martin Out’ ahead of kick-off. A trend that would gain velocity throughout the evening.

Danny Whitehall almost teed up Ben House for an Eastleigh opener – Hamzad Kargbo forced Joe McDonnell into a smart save at the foot of an upright as early exchanges suggested an opening affair.

Joe Low passed up a glorious opportunity for the visitors’, heading over from close range after arriving unmarked to meet Tom Whelan’s flag-kick. Blues again responded – this time, Nathan Ferguson tested McDonnell’s resolve from distance after seizing on some hesitant defending.

The game had become stretched and scrappy, with neither side able to keep possession. Meanwhile, referee, Robert Whitton became the first casualty of the evening, limping out of the action to be replaced by the fourth official, Christopher Hastings.

Jack Bridge cut in from the left and blazed over as the second period started in a similarly frustrating pattern as to what had gone before.

Shaun Hobson, Nathan Ralph and Kargbo all came close to opening the scoring following a minor melee in the Eastleigh box.

Substitute, Rhys Murphy scuffed wide from a terrific position after Bridge had fashioned an opening. Meanwhile, the agitated crowd vented their anger further towards the chairman as calls for his resignation escalated to the main stand, while a huge banner was displayed the length of the West Stand before stewards attempted to disperse the protesters.

McDonnell did well to push San Dalby’s header to safety. However, Blues recycled – Ferguson reacted, hammering right-footed, high beyond the Eastleigh keeper to hand the hosts a precious advantage.

Murphy was a whisker away from a second, although McDonnell might well have covered his somewhat telegraphed dead-ball attempt.

Tempers flared in stoppage-time after Jake Hesketh appeared to clashed Dably – A yellow card apiece brandished by the substitute official.

Fans brought their remonstrations onto the field at full-time. Around 250 supporters congregating in front of the director’s box to continue their calls for change.

Southend United supporters took to the pitch at full-time to vent their anger towards chairman, Ron Martin

Southend United return to Vanarama National League action on Saturday, October 9 when Chesterfield visit Roots Hall Stadium (3pm).

Southend United: Arnold, Ralph, Hobson, Bridge, Dunne (Capt), Ferguson, Akinola (Dalby 60’), Atkinson, Sayers, Kargbo (Murphy 60’), Demetriou Subs not used: Howard, Walsh, Kimpioka

Booked: Sam Dalby (dissent)
Goals: Nathan Ferguson 69’

Eastleigh: McDonnell, Hare, Boyce, Low, Kelly, Hollands (Capt), Whelan, Pritchard, Hill (Hesketh 63’), Whitehall (Barnett 63’), House (Smart 79’) Subs not used: Harper, Maghoma

Booked: Ryan Hill (foul),
Goals: Jake Hesketh (dissent), Tom Whelan (dissent)

Referee: Robert Whitton
Assistants: Karl Sear and Jeffrey Aldous
Fourth Official: Christopher Hastings

Attendance: 3,342 (63 from Eastleigh)


Brian Jeeves