Keeper Oxley helps to steady the Southend ship

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Southend United 0 Tranmere Rovers 0

Sky Bet League One

Sol Campbell’s Shrimpers ended a forgettable week – off the pitch – to make it three games unbeaten, after holding lowly Tranmere on Saturday.

On an emotional afternoon, with a minute’s silence impeccably observed after the untimely death of former United defender, Chris Barker, Southend made a promising start, with Elvis Bwomono causing a shaky Tranmere defence problems.

However, Rovers soon hit back, with Neil Danns forcing a smart save from Mark Oxley, before Kieron Morris wasted an excellent third minute opportunity – volleying wide from close range.

Southend then looked quite comfortable, with Campbell continually urging his troops and following a poor kick-out from away keeper, Aaron Chapman, Stephen Humphrys was unlucky not to register a freak opening goal with an audacious 40-yard chip.

The hosts then had justifiable 35th minute penalty claims when former Shrimper, Peter Clarke’s up-and-under saw Chapman appear to impede Tom Hopper. Referee, Ryan Atkins then angered the crowd waving ‘play on’.

Tranmere immediately broke and Oxley – with his feet – did well to deny a clean-through Connor Jennings – who soon retired injured from the keeper’s brave block.

Hopper was then crudely chopped down by Clarke – thus earning a yellow card – and Sam Mantom was a cigarette paper’s width away from putting the Blues ahead with a curling free-kick.

Stephen McLaughlin was then unable to keep a sliced Clarke clearance down – shooting over from six yards – as Southend looked the livelier on the stroke of half-time.

McLaughlin was then a foot off target from a set-piece, straight after the turnaround, before Hopper was unable to keep down a header after rising above the Lillywhites’ defence, from Mantom’s 50th minute flag-kick.

Persistent Southend edged closer, and skipper, Timothee Dieng was inches wide, on 55 minutes, as the visitors struggled to clear another Mantom corner kick.

Having soaked up Southend pressure, Rovers hit back, with Danns and Morgan Ferrier wasting decent opportunities.

Humphrys then wasted the best chance of this rather dull encounter. Having been sent through by Hooper’s fine 70th minute slide-rule pass, the striker ran out of space and shot tamely at Chapman.

The Blues didn’t give up and on another day McLaughlin’s 74th minute effort, deflected through Chapman’s legs would have been a goal – not another corner.

Against the run of play, Tranmere sub., Corey Blackett-Taylor so nearly netted with a tantalising crossball, but McLaughlin was on hand to make a last-ditch clearance.

In almost ‘Keystone Cops’ scenes, Mantom’s poor free-kick was cleared to the otherwise impeccable Elvis Bwomono, who, with an uncharacteristically hashed clearance, conceded a totally unnecessary corner.

Man-of- the-match, Oxley, made another fine catch, from Morris’s poor flag-kick, to steady Campbell’s nerves – and ultimately pick up the point they, at the very least, merited.

Southend United: Mark Oxley, Elvis Bwomono, John White, Rob Kiernan, Timothee Dieng (capt), Stephen McLaughlin, Jason Demetriou (Sam Barratt 90), Mark Milligan, Sam Mantom, Stephen Humphrys (Charlie Kelman 74), Tom Hopper. Subs (not used): Nathan Bishop, Brandon Goodship, Isaac Hutchinson, Matt Rush, Eren Kinali.

Tranmere Rovers: Aaron Chapman, Jake Caprice, Peter Clarke, Manny Monthe, Callum Woods (Liam Ridehalgh 90), Neil Danns (Corey Blackett-Taylor 78), Alex Woodyard, David Perkins (capt), Kieron Morris, Connor Jennings (Paul Mullin 40), Morgan Ferrier. Subs (not used): Luke Pillings, Harvey Gilmour, Ollie Banks, Stefan Payne.

Referee: Alan Young

Assistants: Adrian Tranter, Matthew Lee

Fourth Official: Callum Walchester

Attendance: 5,988

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Rowland Lyons

Email: [email protected]