Blues play-off bid dashed by Dale

Brian Jeeves

Southend United v Rochdale AFC – Vanarma National League – Roots Hall Stadium – Report

Southend United 1-2 Rochdale AFC

Southend United’s outside hopes of securing a Vanarama National League play-off place evaporated as they were beaten 2-1 by Rochdale at a sold-out Roots Hall Stadium.

With other results going against them, even a victory wouldn’t have been sufficient for Kevin Maher’s men, who in the process saw their fifteen-match unbeaten run draw to a conclusion.

At the end of a turbulent campaign, largely overshadowed by off-field issues, Maher gave credit to his players for their efforts during a season which saw them deducted ten points for financial irregularities. 

“It seems ages ago that we played Oldham at home with the lead-up to that and what pre-season looked like,” Maher explained.. 

“For what the players have done this season, you can’t give them any more credit than they deserve.

“There is some disappointment because we’d be fourth in the league, that’s a fact. We’ve won enough points to be fourth, and that’s a marker of where we’re at as a team.”

Blues provided the home crowd with a perfect start when Gus Scott-Morriss arrived at the far post to convert a delightful ball from Jack Bridge.

However, shortly before the interval, Cian Hayes rounded Collin Andeng Ndi to level the score after Oli Kensdale had been caught napping.

With news filtering through from elsewhere that Southend’s play-off bid was all but over, Devante Rodney darkened the mood further with a stoppage-time winner for the visitors.

Southend United can be proud of their efforts under such trying circumstances. They finish the campaign in ninth place but are hopeful of a less eventful season away from the pitch next term.

Southend United: Andeng-Ndi, Scott-Morriss, Ralph, Miley, Taylor, Kensdale, Bridge, Morton (Fonguck 58′), Coker (Husin 58′), Cardwell, Waldron (Powell 74′) Subs not used: Dackers, Demetriou

Rochdale AFC: Brooks, Ebanks-Landell, Mitchell (Henderson 73′), Sassi, East, Nevett, Gilmour (Edwards 28′), Gordon, Mather (Mellor 62′), Rodney, Hayes Subs not used: John, Keohane

Referee: Paul Johnson

Assistants: Matthew Fletcher and James Hurst

Fourth Official: Reece Pinchback

Attendance: 7,947

Brian Jeeves