Southend United 0-1 Bolton Wanderers
A mistake from goalkeeper Mark Oxley proved costly as Southend United’s recent Sky Bet League Two revival was brought to a conclusion by Bolton Wanderers at Roots Hall Stadium.
The experienced stoppers late error allowed Shaun Miller the simplest of opportunities in a game Southend never really looked like winning.
Oladapo Afolayan’s fizzing effort was a whisker away, while Oxley awkwardly dealt with Marcus Maddison’s drive and skipper Eoin Doyle directed the follow-up over the top as Bolton made their intentions known.
Doyle was again off-target, while a flag denied Afolayan an opener – Doyle the man adjudged off-side. Meanwhile, Blues, who had offered very little, came close when Elvis Bwomono met Reeco Hackett-Fairchild’s centre – the full-back unable to direct his header goalwards.
Just before the break, Doyle’s effort was kicked off the line, while Maddison sent another attempt over as Bolton finished the half very much as they had started it.
Blues looked a little sharper immediately after the restart. Ashley Nathaniel-George provided width, while Simeon Akinola was a whisker away from reaching Hackett-Fairchild’s centre. Boss, Mark Molesley, introduced Ricky Holmes into the fray midway through the half in a bid to offer a little more creativity with genuine opportunities still coming at a premium for the home side.
But with time running out, Oxley horrendously misjudged the flight of the ball after John White’s clearance had taken a wicked deflection skywards. The stopper flapped the ball into the patch of Bolton substitute, Miller, who lashed home from six yards.
Southend remain outside the dropzone thanks to Barrow’s defeat at home to Morecambe. Blues return to Sky Bet League Two action on Wednesday, February 25 when they take on Forest Green Rovers at The New Lawn (7pm). On Saturday 27 Blues host Salford City (3pm).
Southend United: Mark Oxley, Elvis Bwomono, Shaun Hobson, Timothee Dieng, Simeon Akinola, Tom Clifford (Sam Hart 79’), Reeco Hackett-Fairchild (Ricky Holmes 67’), Ashley Nathaniel-George, Jason Demetriou, Nathan Ferguson (Emile Acquah 79’), John White (Capt) Subs not used: Harry Seaden (GK), Alan McCormack, Tyler Cordner, Kyle Taylor
Booked: Nathan Ferguson (foul)
Bolton Wanderers: Matt Gilks, Gethin Jones, MJ Williams, Ricardo Almeida Santos, Nathan Delfouneso (Arthur Gnahoua 64’), Eoin Doyle (Capt) (Shaun Miller76’), Marcus Maddison (Lloyd Isgrove 64’), Alex Baptiste, Declan John, Kieran Lee, Oladapo Afolayan (Antoni Sarcevic 64’) Subs not used: Ben Jackson (GK), Andrew Tutte, George Thomason
Booked: MJ Williams (foul)
Goals: Shaun Miller 82’
Referee: Declan Bourne
Assistants: Paul Lister and Paul Kelly
Fourth Official: Anthony Da Costa