Blues race is run as U’s ease to derby honours

Colchester United 2-0 Southend United

Southend United’s 100-year membership of the Football League is all but over after they slumped to a 2-0 defeat at local rivals Colchester United.

Dubbed by some as the biggest Essex derby in history – Followers of both Colchester and the Shrimpers are certainly entitled to better than what has gone before.

Nevertheless, the two clubs found themselves in a desperate struggle for a reason and now there was little or no room for error in the desperate scrap to avoid dropping out of the Football League.

Honest, but unprepossessing endeavour adorned the early stages – stretched and scrappy – hardly surprising with what was at stake. Indeed, it was fully twenty-six minutes before either offered an effort in anger. Blues stopper, Mark Oxley, expertly dealing with Callum Harriott’s speculative strike.

But Oxley swiftly turned villain for the visitors – allowing Harry Pell’s strike to squirm free – Michael Folivi picking up the pieces to net from close range.

Southend’s world was literally collapsing around them. Noah Chilvers’ flag-kick wasn’t cleared efficiently – Pell sending a thundering left-footed strike beyond Oxley from twelve yards – the contest already beginning to look a foregone conclusion.

Harry Pell celebrates scoring Colchester’s second goal (Nicky Hayes)

Southend returned after the break, no doubt, with a flea in their ear. Phil Brown threw Greg Halford and Kyle Taylor into the fray in a bid to stir his sterile charges who had failed to muster a worth attempt during the opening period.

Tempers frayed, but the quality remained, at best, minimal. Southend, more so, providing plenty of evidence as to why they are in such a mess. Reeco Hackett-Fairchild’s wayward strike from distance rather summed up their campaign as a whole. The rebuilding job at Roots Hall, for wherever, should be at the helm, a titanic task!

Southend’s issues deepened – if that was at all possible – when Jason Demetriou went clean through Pell – it was a sickening challenge – the red card brandished by the referee, Kevin Johnson, hardly a surprise.

Southend’s Jason Demetriou is shown the red card by referee, Kevin Johnson (Nicky Hayes)

Colchester’s approach had been do or die, while gutless, toothless and sorry Southend already appeared to be mourning their own demise. Despite sitting just one place apart ahead of the game – the gulf in character was sizable.

Colchester United return to Sky Bet League Two action on Saturday, April 24 when they take on Cheltenham Town at the Jonny-Rocks Stadium (3pm). Meanwhile, at the same time, Southend United host Leyton Orient at Roots Hall Stadium.

Colchester United: Shamal George, Miles Welch-Hayes, Tommy Smith, Harry Pell, Callum Harriott, Noah Chilvers, Tom Eastman, Ryan Clampin, Brendan Wiredu, Michael Folivi (Jevani Brown 54’), Frank Nouble Subs not used: Dean Gerken (GK), Tom Lapslie, Omar Sowunmi, Courtney Senior, Aramide Oteh, Ben Stevenson

Booked: Callum Harriott (time-wasting)
Goals: Michael Folivi 30’, Harry Pell 37’

Southend United: Mark Oxley, Elvis Bwomono (Tyler Cordner 73’), Shaun Hobson, Brandon Goodship (Kyle Taylor 46’), Recco Hackett-Fairchild (Terrell Egbri 65’), Jason Demetriou, Ricky Holmes (Emile Acquah 83′), Louis Walsh (Greg Halford 46’), Sam Hart, Nathan Ferguson, John White Subs not used: Harry Seaden (GK), James Olayinka

Booked: John White (foul), Greg Halford (foul)
Red Card: Jason Demetriou (foul)
Goals: None

Referee: Kevin Johnson
Assistants: Anthony Da Costa and Scott Williams
Fourth Official: Declan Bourne

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Brian Jeeves

Email: [email protected]