Southend United 1-7 Doncaster Rovers
INCOMING MANAGER, Sol Campbell, watched on as Southend United capitulated to their heaviest ever home defeat as Doncaster Rovers recorded a 7-1 Sky Bet League One success at Roots Hall Stadium.
To cap a truly awful evening for the Blues, both Ethan Hamilton and Stephen McLaughlin were sent-off, leaving bemused fans wondering if this horror story of a season will ever bring them some light?
Blues evening started with Manchester United loanee, Hamilton, seeing red inside six minutes for a high challenge on Doncaster’s Jon Taylor. However, the mood soon changed as Isaac Hutchinson brilliantly fired the home side ahead with a stunning dead-ball effort.
But that was as good as it got for Southend. Kwame Thomas scored twice and Ben Sheaf was also on target as Rovers steamed into a 3-1 lead before the interval.
And far worse was to follow. McLaughlin became the second Blues player to be sent off – once again, Taylor the man on the receiving end. And the nine-men simply caved in, with Ben Whiteman, Kieran Sadlier, Alfie May and an own-goal from Nathan Ralph completing the rout.
Shellshocked caretaker-manager, Gary Waddock, could be forgiven for thinking this was no longer his problem. Nevertheless, once again the former Republic of Ireland international offered an honest response following the defeat.
“It did start well because of [Hutchinson’s] goal, but then thereafter it went from bad to worse,” he told www.southendunited.co.uk.
“Against a team of that quality, the way they keep the ball, it was always going to be a tough evening. A very embarrassing evening for all of us.
“The positive was getting ourselves ahead, but if you lose a man that early against a team who are a possession-based team they’re always going to find the spaces to go and hurt you.
“Then, again, early on in the second half you lose a second player and it’s not too often you’re in a game when you go down to nine men.”
Speaking about the two red cards, Waddock added: “[Hamilton’s] was a long way away but it did look like a reckless challenge and I can see why the referee gave a red for that.
“I’ve not seen [McLaughlin’s] but from what I can gather it was a lunge, two-footed challenge. So if that’s the case, the referee will class it as a dangerous challenge and you see red and that was the outcome.”
Following the appointment of Campbell, Waddock admitted he didn’t know where his own future might lie: “I’ve no idea what’s going to happen regarding my future, what will be will be. I’ll gather my thoughts and then a decision will be made.
“They know what they’ve come into and they’ve seen it first-hand tonight. Unfortunately, the sending offs didn’t help, but they’re intelligent guys, they know what they’re doing. They’re football people and I wish them all the very best.”
Waddock finished with a word for the suffering Blues support: “I’ve got to say the crowd tonight were absolutely magnificent, bearing in mind what they’d witnessed I thought they were fantastic, so I applaud them for that.
“Unfortunately, we’ve not been able to get the results that they deserve and going forward I hope they do. It’s a good club, a good set of supporters and for this football club, I hope they have more success going forward.”
Southend United start life under Sol Campbell on Saturday, October 26 when Sky Bet League One leaders Ipswich Town are the visitors to Roots Hall Stadium (3pm).
Southend United: Bishop, Bwomono, Ralph, Milligan (Capt), Dieng (Lennon 56’), Hopper (Humphrys 55’), Cox, McLaughlin, Hamilton, Shaughnessy, Hutchinson. Subs not used: Oxley, Goodship, Kiernan, Demetriou, Acquah
Doncaster Rovers: Dieng, Halliday, James, Anderson, Sheaf, Sadlier, Whiteman (Capt), Taylor, Coppinger (May 63’), Daniels (Wright 46’), Thomas (Gomes 74’). Subs not used: Lawlor, Blaney, Longbottom, Ennis
Referee: Josh Smith
Assistants: Carl Fitch-Jackson and Anthony Da Costa
Fourth Official: Stephen Finch
Attendance: 5,066 (233 from Doncaster)