O, this is the poison of deep grief…

Harrogate Town v Southend United – Sky Bet League Two – EnviroVent Stadium – Saturday 3pm – Preview

When sorrows come, they come not single spies but in battalions (Hamlet – Act IV, Scene V)…

Nine matches remaining, six points from safety – As far as I’m concerned, the ship has long since sailed. I believe this is a view now shared by the vast majority of disgruntled and disillusioned Southend United supporters. 

Damage report…

Southend United 0-0 Walsall

Match: 37 Won: 7 Drawn: 11 Lost: 19 Points: 32 Position: 23rd Nils: 21 

As I might have mentioned, with family and friends connected to the Black Country outfit, it was interesting to receive comments from both sets of fans on the whistle – the general consensus – An abysmal excuse of a football match – let’s never talk about it again.

True, Southend offered slightly more offensively than in recent performances. But the quality remains minimal – the result, all rather too predictable and on this occasion against a side actually below them in the current form table and who provided little on no threat of their own.

Indeed, until the home side finally started to show a little urgency – ironically, just after being reduced to ten men – the match could have been played without a ball. The standard of football in League Two has been poor this season – This drab encounter did nothing to change that perspective.

Mark Molesley perhaps should be admired for defending his team post-match: “I can’t ask any more from my players; they’re giving everything out there,” he explained. 

“We’ve gone down to ten men and just attacked. As soon as we went down to ten men all we did was attack and put crosses in the box, but being a player down we’re not getting as many players in and around it and I felt there was only going to be one winner out there tonight.” 

But at the end of the day, eight of the starting eleven were recruited during Molelsley tenure at Roots Hall. To throw them under the bus now would evaporate any droplet of enthusiasm amongst the group and as good as admit that they are not good enough to compete competently in League Two. The table says one thing, but in the meantime, as you were, everyone.

While the football remains distinctly depressing, the tempestuous fallout from the Roots Hall faithful continues to gather pace via social media. At the time of scribing this article, neither Ron Martin nor the Supporters Trust has issued any further communication to that published ahead of Walsall’s visit. I don’t for one minute envisage there is too much in the way of positivity to report should that change in the meantime.

Anyway Jeevesie, you’re a football reporter – report! Sam Hart’s second-half dismissal provides Molesley with another conundrum – the player, who has been one of Southend’s better performers during this latest Annus horribilis (they seem to come around so quickly these days!).

In truth, my immediate thoughts were that the referee got it right. I’ve had a couple of looks since and see no reason to change that opinion. Hart will now miss three matches and although Molesley has suggested Southend will appeal the decision, I’d be rather surprised if the outcome was overturned.  

The blow has been potentially doubled with the news that Timothee Dieng has been charged by the FA of a clear act of simulation during the recent draw at Scunthorpe United.

Ironically, despite the incident resulting in Southend’s only goal in their last seven outings, Dieng’s actions have largely been condemned by the Blues support. Now it appears they will be without the player, possibly for the trip to Harrogate, although again the club has suggested an appeal – it never rains!

Ah yes, Harrogate Town – Up next. The League Two newsboys provided us all with a taster of what was to follow, marking their EFL debut with a resounding 4-0 victory at Roots Hall Stadium on the opening day of the campaign.

Although I wasn’t covering that particular match, I did catch The Sulphurites 3-0 defeat at Leyton Orient – hat-trick hero Danny Johnson the difference between the sides – Aaron Martin and Jack Muldoon offering me enough evidence that the Yorkshiremen were equipped to recover. Fourteen victories and six draws from their 36 matches to date is ample proof that this was the case, although a defeat to Morecambe last time out has all but ended their outside aspirations of a top-seven finish.

It is just over a month since Southend pulled off an impressive 3-1 victory at promotion-chasing Forest Green Rovers to climb off the bottom of the table, and indeed out of the relegation zone. Let’s just think about that for a moment – a month – How did you feel that night? How have you been feeling since? I don’t know about you, but it seems like an awful lot longer!

Stay strong, everyone. 

Jeevesie’s prediction: Harrogate Town 1-0 Southend United

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Brian Jeeves

Email: [email protected]