Southend United 1-2 Oldham Athletic
Nine games – no victories. That is the stark reality facing Southend United after fellow strugglers, Oldham Athletic, pinched the Sky Bet League Two points late on at Roots Hall in what is rapidly becoming the Blues second-successive Annus horribilis of a campaign.
As might be expected in a contest between the sides places ninetieth and ninety-second in the Football League, exchanges were frantic, scrappy and devoid of quality.
Blues enjoyed plenty of early possession – just as they had at Tranmere three days previous. Nevertheless, it was Oldham who created the first clearcut opportunity – Dylan Fage sending his right-footed strike over after a swift break from deep.
Ashley Nathaniel-George drove menacingly at the Latics rearguard but dragged wide after shaping to shoot, while Elvis Bwomono fired over from distance. But there was little getting away from the fact it had been a woefully uneventful opening forty-five minutes.
Things were about to get even worse from a Southend perspective. Four minutes after the restart, Bobby Grant was on hand to convert from close range – Cameron Borthwick-Jackson picking him out with a driven cross from the left – Oldham ahead – another unanswerable conundrum for Mark Molesley and his beleaguered group.
Blues huffed and puffed but lacked ideas and direction. Meanwhile, Conor McAleny sent a stinging strike against the foot of an upright and another directly at Mark Oxley, as Oldham – far from in the ascendancy themselves – looked to secure the points.
But with little over a quarter of an hour remaining, Blues hit back with their first shot on target of the evening. Tom Clifford’s dead-ball effort – Beckham-Esque – sailed high beyond the extended Ian Lawlor in the Latics goal. It had come out of the blue and offered the potential for a grandstand finish.
Substitute, Brandon Goodship, went mighty close to turning the contest on its head – his own free-kick cannoning back of the face of the bar. But once again, Southend’s inconsiderable nous was highlighted in the dying moments. Jason Demetriou gave away possession – Substitute Zak Dearnley racing clear, rounding Oxley and supplying an ice-cool finish – his fourth in as many games – to send the visitors away with the full complement.
It’s difficult to see exactly where a league victory will arrive from for Southend United. They return to Sky Bet League Two action on Saturday, October 31 when Port Vale are the visitors to Roots Hall Stadium (3pm).
Southend United: Mark Oxley, Elvis Bwomono, James Olayinka (Shaun Hobson 82′), Timothee Dieng, Terrell Egbri, Tom Clifford, Emile Ecquah (Kazaiah Sterling 53’), Ashley Nathaniel-George, Jason Demetriou (Capt), Harry Lennon (Brandon Goodship 72’), Kyle Taylor Subs not used: Harry Seadon (GK), Harry Phillips, Matt Rush, Richard Taylor
Goals: Tom Clifford 76′
Oldham Athletic: Ian Taylor, Harry Clarke, Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, Carl Piergianni (Capt), Callum Whelan, Davis Keillor-Dunn (Zak Dearnley 69’), Bobby Grant, Dylan Fage (Dylan Bahamboula 81’), Kyle Jameson, Brice Ntambwe, Conor McAleny Subs not used: Lawrence Bilboe (GK), Danny Rowe, Jordan Barnett, Alfie McCalmont, Thomas Hamer
Booked: Carl Piergianni (foul), Harry Clarke (foul)
Goals: Bobby Grant 49’, Zak Dearnley 90’
Referee: Christopher Sarginson
Assistants: Gregory Read and Adrian Tranter
Fourth Official: David Rock