Southend United v Bradford City – Sky Bet League Two – Roots Hall Stadium – Tuesday 7pm – Preview
So where do I start? It’s a must-win game – If Southend wants to stay up they simply can’t afford to lose – Time is running out! But let’s be perfectly honest, unless you’ve been living on Mars, you know that already!
I’ve had another look at Saturday’s highlights – There simply aren’t any! The long and the short of it is that Southend was beaten by a better side. Indeed, all fourteen of the Blues Sky Bet League Two defeats are for that very reason!
Southend was timid in attack – No surprise there – And the defending leading to Mansfield’s 64th-minute winner was abysmal. Jamie Reid was one of three Stags players unattended and ready to pounce, but taking the move back frame by frame, Jordan Bowery skipped passed both Greg Halford and Timothee Dieng far too easily, while I’d also question whether Mark Oxley should have done better in dealing with the initial shot.
Schoolboy stuff from experienced players. I’ve no doubt Mark Molesley was pulling his hair out and I’d be surprised if he didn’t let them know as much at the conclusion. My opinions, you don’t have to agree with them, but ultimately, the result is the same for both of us – Southend lost another game of football – Non-league football a step closer – That’s the stark reality of it.
The momentum built up over the festive period has been lost. One point from the last nine was never going to be good enough to lift Southend off the foot of the table.
Ahead of the midweek defeat to Cambridge United, I defended Molesley’s selection and formation. I largely stand by that again this time, after all, what more can you do with this group?
But the lack of firepower, and indeed creativity, was again alarmingly evident. None of the starting front three are out and out goalscorers, while Emile Acquah doesn’t appear ready for EFL football – and at 20, you have to ask the question, will he ever be?
Blues misery was compounded by the late dismissal of Dieng. I’ve looked back at the clip a hundred times and can only assume his second yellow card was pure guesswork from referee, Ben Speedie. Nevertheless, Blues are now without an experienced player for a massively important match.
Of course, those of you who read my Blues column are more than welcome to disagree, or for that matter suggest I’m beginning to sound like the proverbial broken record. But come on, none of this is a new thing. Recent managers have largely faired much the same. Is that totally down to their inadequacy’s? If so, what is the recruitment process? How is the club getting the recruitment so wrong?
Molesley’s efforts would suggest he is bucking that trend, but he desperately needs support. Southend remains bottom of the Football League – The current squad, in my opinion, not strong enough to turn that around. But hey, I’m just one person. I’m not one to write for a reaction. I don’t look to dig out any of the clubs Yellow Sport cover. I say it as I see it. I know some fans think that my thoughts don’t matter. Fair enough. Are you comfortable with what’s going on at Roots Hall? What do you think?
Anyway, Blues now face a Bradford City side who are unbeaten in six matches, a sequence which has seen them take four points from six off leaders Cambridge United and secure four clean sheets. A victory in south-east Essex will lift them eight points above Southend. Another relegation rival out of reach.
The transfer window closes in a few days – It’s now or never. In a perfect world, Blues will ram my words down my throat, prove me wrong, climb the league, lay the foundations for a bright future. I hope they do!
On May 11, 1985, Southend United needed to see off Torquay United in their final game of the season to stay out of the re-election zone. Manager and former World Cup winner, Bobby Moore, stated in his programme notes that he knew things were at their blackest at the moment, but assured us that the darkest hour is just before the new dawn. Steve Phillips’ 77th-minute penalty secured the points – Everyone connected with the club took a collective deep breath. David Webb would take charge a year later and lead the club, albeit briefly, to the top of the second tier of English football.
That traumatic May afternoon 36-years-ago isn’t the only Southend have flirted with danger. They’ve been in a few scrapes both before and since. But can you see a time in the not so distant future where the club replicate those heady times under Webb’s leadership? Sadly, I fear this time it is all a bridge too far.
Jeevesie’s prediction: Southend United 0-1 Bradford City