Exeter City 0-0 Southend United
Phil Brown’s Shrimpers had to be content with just a point, last Saturday, as an out-of-sorts Exeter City remain in the play-offs hunt.
With the games quickly running out, Brown admitted: “Tuesday’s game at Colchester is the biggest in the club’s history”.
Before the break, Shrimpers’ Reeco Hackett-Fairchild went closest, on 28 minutes, rattling Jokull Andresson’s bar, with a fine effort, after equally impressive Ricky Holmes build-up play.
The play-off hopeful hosts found a determined Mark Oxley a tough nut to crack, but he had to react well to parry Jack Sparkes’ angled drive, seconds before the interval.
No doubt inspired by Brown’s half-time pep talk, the Blues rained efforts towards the home goal, with the Icelandic loan-keeper Andresson doing well to catch Jason Demetriou’s piledriver, before reacting well to Simeon Akinola’s diving header.
Despite introducing the wily Brandon Goodship, for the tiring Akinola, Southend was unable to make their pressure pay off and ultimately had to grind out the point, with Oxley saving well from former Orient man, sub, Nigel Atangana and making a fine stoppage-time block from fellow substitute, Pierce Sweeney’s point-blank header.
Brown added: “I don’t necessarily subscribe to the idea of ‘four cup finals’ remaining. We can draw one of those. It’s about our final points total”.
With goalscoring still a chronic problem, Brown revealed: “Getting the ball into key areas was the message today. But, we’re getting closer. We hit the crossbar and the post today. We just need to see that first goal”.
Back at Roots Hall, after a three-year hiatus, Brown said: “I’m delighted by the way the players are taking everything I’m saying on-board, as well as the senior pros.”
Midfielder, Nathan Ferguson, admitted: “Survival is down to us. It’s in our own hands. We’ve got four ‘cup finals’ – but it’s now about the next game.”
Opposing boss, Matt Taylor said: “There were two teams out there giving it absolutely everything. We created our best chances in the last ten minutes. Their keeper has pulled off a hell of a save. It wasn’t to be.”
Exeter City: Jokull Andresson, Jake Caprice, Rory McArdle, Jack Sparkes (Pierce Sweeney 87′), Lewis Page (Robbie Willmott 56′), Jake Taylor (Capt) (Nigel Atangana 87′), Archie Collins, Randell Williams (Josh Key 75′), Alex Hartridge, Ryan Bowman, Matt Jay (Ben Seymour 87′) Subs not used: Jonny Maxted (GK), Tom Parkes
Southend United: Mark Oxley, Elvis Bwomono, Shaun Hobson, John White (Capt), Sam Hart, Jason Demetriou, Nathan Ferguson, Recco Hackett-Fairchild, Ricky Holmes (James Okayinka 76′), Louis Walsh (Alan McCormack 89′), Simeon Akinola (Brandon Goodship 72′) Subs not used: Harry Seaden (GK), Tyler Cordner, Greg Halford
Referee: Darren Drysdale
Assistants: Christopher Husband and Daniel Flynn
Fourth Official: Brett Huxtable