Southend United 1- 4 AFC Wimbledon
DISMAL SOUTHEND UNITED crashed to their heaviest home defeat of the season as fellow strugglers, AFC Wimbledon – inspired by a Marcus Forss hat-trick – easily plundered the Sky Bet League One points at a rain-soaked Roots Hall Stadium.
These are bleak times for the Blues and the meek surrender to one of their relegation rivals highlighted their desperate plight further. An ‘annus horribilis’ of a campaign had already seen Southend lose nine of their eleven League One matches and despite the relegation trap door already letting in far more than a draft, caretaker-manager, Gary Waddock, tried to remain upbeat an positive, as one would expect.
“It’s an important game. There are three points at stake against a club that is close to us so it’s an important fixture,” the one-time Queen’s Park Rangers man explained.
“The players need to show character, attitude, desire, determination, all those words need to be shown on Saturday to get any type of result.
“We need to make sure we come to the game focussed and ready to go.”
Waddock’s own position at Roots Hall was also a topic of conversation amongst fans. Sol Campbell was heavily linked with the post in the time leading up to the match, while murmurs that former Celtic legend, Henrik Larsson was back in the picture had also emerged. Chairman, Ron Martin taking to the clubs website, stating: “I am now targeting a press conference for Thursday and will confirm that when the ink is dry.”
Nevertheless, back on the pitch, it was a nervy start from Southend. One-time Wembley hero, Joe Piggott, saw his effort deflected wide, but within five minutes Finnish under 21 international, Forss, fired a low, angled effort under Blues stopper, Mark Oxley, handing Wimbledon the lead – it was his fifth goal of the campaign.
This was already painful watching for the home crowd and six minutes later, Forss reacted the quickest, firing home from eight yards after the creaky Blues backline had rebuffed two goalbound attempts.
Southend needed a lifeline. Timothee Dieng arrived to head home Nathan Ralph’s cross from the left, injecting renewed hope into the despondent home crowd.
Indeed, the goal lifted the Blues. Elvis Bwomono forced Wimbledon keeper, Nathan Trott, into a smart save at the foot of an upright, while Simon Cox was unable to direct his header goalwards after a sustained spell of possession.
Southend were finally on the front foot. However, they survived a scare when Mitch Pinnock volleyed over following an all too easy raid down the right. Meanwhile, Rob Kiernan fired directly at Trott and Isaac Hutchinson fizzed over as the home side continued to ask the sterner questions.
But as the rain fell, Southend’s defensive frailties returned to haunt them again. Kiernan was clumsy on Ryan Delaney – Forss emphatically blasting home the resulting spot-kick, reestablishing Wimbledon’s two-goal advantage and claiming the match ball in the process.
Mark Oxley sprung low to his right to deny Pigott, but from the resulting flag-kick from Max Sanders, Delaney arrived unchallenged to head home Wimbledon’s fourth of the afternoon.
A chorus of boing bombarded the Southend players as they left the field at full-time. It’s difficult to see where another victory will come from, let alone the stomach and heart to fight their way out of the League One dropzone.
Southend United return to Sky Bet League One action on Friday, October 18 when they face Tranmere Rovers at Prenton Park (7:45pm).
Southend United: Mark Oxley, Elvis Bwomono (Jason Demetriou 79’), Joe Shaughnessy, Harry Lennon (Isaac Hutchinson 18’) Nathan Ralph (Tom Hopper 71’), Rob Kiernan, Ethan Hamilton, Timothee Dieng, Stephen McLaughlin, Simon Cox (Capt), Brandon Goodship Subs not used: Nathan Bishop (GK), Richard Taylor, Terrell Egbri, Matt Rush
Booked: Stephen McLaughlin (foul), Timothee Dieng (foul), Brandon Goodship (foul)
Goals: Timothee Dieng 13’
AFC Wimbledon: Nathan Trott, Terell Thomas, Scott Wagstaff, Mitch Pinnock (Shane McLoughlin 90+1′), Marcus Forss (Kwesi Appiah 79’) Ryan Delaney, Max Saunders, Paul Kalambayi, Paul Osew, Joe Pigott, Anthony Wordsworth (Anthony Hartigan 82’) Subs not used: Nik Tzanev (GK), Kyron Stabana, Nesta Guinness-Walker, Callum Reilly
Booked: Anthony Wordsworth (foul), Paul Kalambayi (time-wasting)
Goals: Marcus Forss 5’,11’, 52’ (penalty), Ryan Delaney 73’
Referee: Simon Hooper
Assistants: Daniel Robathan and Neil Davies
Fourth Official: Alan Dale
Attendance: 6,420 (666 from AFC Wimbledon)
Reaction to follow…