Pope head and shoulders above sad Shrimpers

Southend United 0-2 Port Vale

Southend United remain anchored to the bottom of the Football League after Tom Pope’s second-half double helped promotion-chasing Port Vale to a comfortable success, which in truth, could have been far more damaging than the 2-0 scoreline suggested

The miserable weather conditions sweeping around Roots Hall seem quite appropriate when you considered the Blues desperate league position. Indeed, even without the vocal chirpings of home support, a brief scan of social media did more to suggest their discontent towards the current situation.

And Southend were immediately placed on the back foot. Mark Oxley somehow palmed out an effort from former Blues favourite, David Worrall, as Vale looked to catch the hosts cold.

Once again, Southend enjoyed plenty of the ball, but the basics were executed poorly. Vale continued to look the more likely. Tom Conlon hit the foot of an upright, while Oxley blocked as Worrall picked up the pieces.

Scott Burgess saw his speculative attempt defected behind, while Nathan Smith was thwarted by an assistants flag and Conlon volleyed – the attacking questions solely coming from the Potteries side. Blues escaped again shortly before the break – Oxley clawing out a thumping header from Pope, this after Mitch Clarke had fashioned an opening from the right.

Oxley produced an unorthodox save to keep out Adam Crookes’ awkward attempt immediately after the restart. But with their next foray forward, Vale swept ahead.

Worrall provided the opportunity after scurrying down the left – Pope with a trademark header at the far post. The ease of the move a concern, but hardly a surprise from a Southend perspective.

Timothee Dieng fired into the arms of Vale stopper, Scott Brown. It was Southend’s first goal-bound attempt of the afternoon and had taken more than fifty minutes to arrive.

But defensively, Southend hadn’t learned any lessons from Pope’s considerable threat. Again, the Vale number nine found himself unmarked – this time David Amoo the supplier – the resulting header equally emphatic.

Having all but secured the three points for his side, Pope was denied the match ball when his close-range effort was deflected against the underside of the woodwork.

It had been another hugely deflating afternoon for the beleaguered Blues. Outclassed in every department, there remains little sign of any upward movement from a group who are simply out of their depth at this level of football.

Southend United: Mark Oxley (Capt), Elvis Bwomono, Shaun Hobson, James Olayinka, Timothee Dieng, Brandon Goodship (Emile Acquah 72’), Terrell Egbri (Jason Demetriou 68’), Tom Clifford, Kazaiah Sterling, Harry Lennon, Kyle Taylor (Ashley Nathaniel-George 65’) Subs not used: Harry Seaden (GK), Harry Phillips, Richard Taylor, Kenny Coker

Booked: Harry Lennon (foul)
Goals: None

Port Vale: Scott Brown, Adam Crookes, Luke Joyce, Leon Legge (Capt), Nathan Smith, David Worrall, Tom Pope, Tom Conlon, Mitch Clark, David Amoo (Zak Mills 82’), Scott Burgess Subs not used: Dino Visser (GK), Theo Robinson, Mark Cullen, Shaun Brisley, Harry McKirdy, Alex Hurst

Booked: Leon Legge (foul), Mitch Clark (foul)
Goals: Tom Pope 48’, 64’

Referee: Tom Nield
Assistants: Darren Blunden and Alasdair Ross
Fourth Official: Stuart Butler

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Brian Jeeves

Email: [email protected]