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Southend United 1-2 Morecambe
The effort you can’t fault. But as for quality and experience, Southend United was once again found wanting as proverbial Sky Bet League Two strugglers, Morecambe, came from behind to leave the Blues still searching for their first points of the season.
Despite suffering four successive defeats in all competitions and sitting rock-bottom of the Football League, hope sprung eternal that Southend might begin to turn the corner against Morecambe side that arrived in south-east Essex having conceded twelve goals in their previous two matches.
And with a planned fans demonstration towards Chairman Ron Martin placed on ice while the disputing factions held talks, the focus was placed firmly on football, recovery and whether Mark Molesley’s young charges had the required mental toughness for what is already viewed by many as a difficult campaign.
Facing a Morecambe side they had failed to beat in all ten previous league encounters, It was the Blues who came out of the traps sharply. Brandon Goodship’s attempt was fingered onto the underside of the bar by Morecambe stopper, Jake Turner – Liam Gibson then getting ahead of Emile Acquah only to head into his own net.
Adam Phillips’ strike was blocked while Mark Oxley awkwardly clawed out Aaron Wildig’s troublesome dead-ball effort as the visitors probed, albeit tentatively.
Exchanges – at best – were untidy. Phillips was too high with another attempt from distance. Meanwhile, frustrations mildly spilt over – referee, Charles Breakspear taking the names of Jason Demetriou and Alex Kenyon after an avoidable coming together in the middle of the park.
Morecambe continued to ask the sterner questions – John O’Sullivan fizzed across goal, while Phillips saw another effort drift wide immediately after the restart.
But with their next meaningful foray forward, the North-West side restored parity. Wildig supplied a crisp volley to a pinpoint centre from Phillips – The goal had been on the cards for some time.
Oxley saved from O’Sullivan, while another Wildig effort at the far post was diverted away as Morecambe continued to turn the screw. And with little over a quarter of an hour remaining, they turned the game on its head.
Philips steadied himself before firing high into the net – O’Sullivan the architect, crossing from the right.
Make no mistake, this was a classic case of two poor sides slugging it out, both eyeing up a rare opportunity to snaffle precious points – the loser left wondering when, and indeed where, a triumph of sorts will arrive from? But the question most Blues fans want to be answered is whether an even bigger battle, one for financial survival, is lurking just over the murky horizon.
Southend United return to Sky Bet League Two action on Saturday, October 3 when they face Crawley Town at the People’s Pension Stadium (3pm).
Southend United: Mark Oxley, Elvis Bwomono, Nathan Ralph, Shaun Hobson, Jordan Green (Charlie Kelman 51’), Brandon Goodship, Terrell Egbri (Matt Rush 81’), Emile Acquah (Tom Clifford 64’), Richard Taylor, Jason Demetriou (Capt), Kyle Taylor Subs not used: Harry Seadon (GK), Lewis Gard, Harry Lennon
Booked: Jason Demetriou (foul)
Goals: Liam Gibson (own-goal) 5’
Morecambe: Jake Turner, Sam Lavelle (Capt), Harry Davis, Cole Stockton (Liam McAlinden 87’), Aaron Wildig, Carlos Mendes-Gomes, Alex Kenyon (Yann Songo’o 72’), John O’Sullivan, Adam Phillips, Ryan Cooney, Liam Gibson (Kevin Mellor 66’) Subs not used: Mark Halstead (GK), Nathaniel Knight-Percival, A-Jay Leitch-Smith, Freddie Price,
Booked: Adam Phillips (foul), Alex Kenyon (foul)
Goals: Aaron Wildig 55’, Adam Phillips 73’
Referee: Charles Breakspear
Assistants: Matthew Lee and Geoffrey Russell
Fourth Officials: Stephen Brown