Southend United 0-2 Coventry City
SOUTHEND UNITED’S horrendous Sky Bet League One campaign showed little signs of a let-up as classy Coventry City eased to victory by two unanswered goals at Roots Hall Stadium.
These are difficult times at Roots Hall. Boss, Sol Campbell expressed his concern over the lack of incoming transfer activity, stating: “I understand there are some finance situations and you’ve got to balance the books, I get that, but when you can’t bring anyone in and it’s all controlled above you, that’s it really. You can’t do anything about it and I’ve got to utilise the academy.
And despite a statement from Chairmen, Ron Martin, suggesting new recruits were imminent, a number of fed-up Blues supporters took to social media to express their anger and concerns over the clubs desperate plight.
Visitors Coventry arrived in south-east Essex on the crest of a wave. The Sky Blues had won three on the bounce and were unbeaten in thirteen – certainly, they provided a huge challenge for Campbell’s depleted and inexperienced squad.
With ‘Storm Dennis’ blustering and dictating the weather, any hopes of expansive football seemed highly unlikely. Brandon Goodship passed up a decent early opportunity after Coventry defender, Dominic Hyam did enough to thwart the Blues frontman. Meanwhile, stopper, Mark Oxley, produced a superb save low to his right to keep out Jordan Shipley’s fizzing half-volley.
Sam Barrett’s wind-assisted free-kick had Coventry keeper, Marko Marosi, backpedalling, then the Blues man sent another effort the wrong side of an upright as the home side continued to press aided by the mounting gusts.
Coventry came might close to breaking the deadlock when Shipley swept against the post from twenty yards. Then Liam Walsh suffered a similar fate after his dead-ball attempt had Oxley beaten all ends up.
Oxley clung to a goalbound header from Michael Rose as the visitors continued to create the clearer opportunities as the half drew to its conclusion.
Despite now having the wind and rain in their faces, Southend continued to give as good as they got after they immediately after the interval. But just before the hour mark, they fell behind.
Blues backed off as substitute Callum O’Hare surged through before wrong-footing Oxley with a neat, low strike into the bottom left-hand corner of the net.
It was always going to be a tall order for Southend to mount a comeback and twelve minutes from time, they were undone again. Maxime Biamou outmuscled Miles Mitchell-Nelson before toe-poking beyond Oxley and in via the foot of the post. It had been spirited from Southend, but ultimately the gulf in class was enormous.
18-year-old goalkeeper, Callum Taylor, replaced Oxley in the final moments for his Football League debut. Southend’s determination was admirable. But this was their twenty-first defeat of the campaign, leaving the relegation trap door not so much open as already closing above the beleaguered Blues heads.
Southend United return to Sky Bet League One action on Tuesday, February 18 when Gillingham are the visitors to Roots hall Stadium (7:45pm). Then the Blues host Burton Albion on Saturday 22 (3pm).
Southend United: Mark Oxley (Callum Taylor 87’), Elvis Bwomono, Mark Milligan, Timothee Dieng (Capt), Brandon Goodship (Kenny Coker 68’), Sam Mantom, Charlie Kelman, Sam Barratt (Issac Hutchinson 79’), Tom Clifford, Terrell Egbri, Miles Mitchell-Nelson Subs not used: Harry Kyprianou, Emile Acquah, Matt Rush, Eren Kinali,
Coventry City: Marko Marosi, Michael Rose, Kyle McFadzean, Liam Kelly (Capt), Dominic Hyam, Liam Walsh, Fankaty Dabo (Josh Pask 69’), Matty Godden, Zain Westbrooke (Maxime Biamou 56’), Jordan Shipley (Callum O’Hare 56’), Sam McCallum Subs not used: Ben Wilson (GK), Jamie Allen, Ryan Giles, Amadou Bakayoko
Booked: Fankaty Dabo (foul)
Goals: Callum O’Hare 59’, Maxime Biamou 78’
Referee: Trevor Kettle
Assistants: Alasdair Ross and Nicholas Cooper
Fourth Official: Paul Kelly
Attendance: 7,278 (1,588 from Coventry)
Reaction to follow…