Tranmere Rovers 2-0 Southend United
Mark Molesley will take that well-trodden path back to the proverbial drawing board, desperately trying to keep spirits elevated but deep down, surely suspecting his side are looking every bit like a group nailed on to relinquish their Football League place after a century of membership.
Nobody would question Southend’s effort or work rate. However, the Blues alarming lack of quality is leaving them hopelessly exposed in a division most notable for its ruthless nature.
Tranmere Rovers – themselves struggling for consistency – became the latest side to snaffle the points from Molseley’s charges.
Peter Clarke – himself a Blues player in better time – nodded the Birkenhead side in front following Liam Feeney’s free-kick. The victory sealed after the interval when James Vaughan’s deflected effort eluded Mark Oxley in the Blues goal.
“It’s another tough one,” the beleaguered Molesley explained.
“We started off really well, really brightly and it was all us dominating the game.
They’ve made two substitutions to change everything because we were causing that many problems. We didn’t get the breakthrough, their goalkeeper has made a couple of good saves, good blocks and from a free-kick, we’ve switched off again, unfortunately.
Molesley continued: “That was our downfall against Salford. I thought we started brightly at Salford as well and [Tranmere] got their goal in a similar fashion as today.
“We’re getting punished by our errors at the moment, harshly punished. But we’ve got do better in those situations because at the moment that’s been our downfall. We switched off momentarily, lost out man and they’ve scored.
“Their tails are up a little bit and we’ve huffed and puffed, and we were working and trying to probe and play, and then the cruel deflection again.
“The boys can be forgiven for feeling sorry for themselves, thinking they were up against it, but they didn’t.
“They kept battling, kept probing but at 2-0 you can see they wanted to close the game off. We’ve got close on a couple of occasions, but they’ve had a stubborn defence in the end.”
Ultimately, promising signs must lead to positive results. Southend remains anchored to the bottom of the EFL after eight matches having taken just two points from twenty-four on offer.
Blues go again on Tuesday evening (October 27) when Oldham Athletic are the visitors to Roots Hall Stadium for a Sky Bet League Two encounter (7:45pm).
Tranmere Rovers: Scott Davies (Capt), Lee O’Connor (Sam Smith 30’), Peter Clarke, Mark Ellis, Liam Ridehalgh, Liam Feeney, Jack Young, Jay Spearing (Ollie Banks 82’), Kieron Morris, Otis Khan (Calum Macdonald 30’), James Vaughan Subs not used: Joe Murphy, Sid Nelson, Corey Blackett-Taylor, Jake Burton
Southend United: Mark Oxley, Elvis Bwomono, Tim Dieng, Harry Lennon, Tim Clifford, Terrell Egbri (Matt Rush 87’), James Olayinka (Brandon Goodship 69’), Jason Demetriou (Capt), Kyle Taylor, Ashley Nathaniel-George, Emile Acquah (Kazaiah Sterling 69’) Subs not used: Harry Seaden, Shaun Hobson, Harry Phillips, Richard Taylor.
Referee: Andy Woolmer
Assistants: Steven Meredith and Nik Barnard
Fourth Official: Philip Dermott
(Quotes courtesy of www.southendunited.co.uk)