115 Shrimpers who saw the tide turn for Southend

Wednesday December 28 2005: Hartlepool United 1 Southend United 2.

The hardcore travelling supporters of Southend United - all 115 of them - were not to leave Victoria Park disappointed, instead ecstatic as their side picked up their first victory in eight games with the help of some terrific saves by Darryl Flahavan…

Before the game:

1Brentford 2364219146321810127437244313
2Swansea City 237312695342219126548284220
3Huddersfield Town 237411913443181611843729418
4Barnsley 2374123113351112107634233711
5Southend United 2355218115241613107634243710
6Colchester United 236232012453111110763123378

Flahavan, 27, was in absolutely superb form against the Monkey Hangers, making an incredible twelve saves as he kept Neale Coopers side at bay. The Shrimpers were under pressure right from the referee's whistle, and
Hartlepool's Ben Clark hammered a ferocious 25-yard drive just wide 80 seconds into the game after Spencer Prior had given away a free-kick on the edge of the penalty area.

Southend carved their way back into the game, and having escaped going a goal down through Clark's shot nearly scored themselves , with a trio of chances. Firstly Kevin Maher's free-kick was headed goalwards by Wayne Gray on six minutes, but 'keeper Dimitrios Konstantopoulos was well placed to catch the incoming ball. Shortly afterwards Freddy Eastwood saw a 30-yard shot fly well wide of the target, and Mark Gower's bending free-kick just wouldn't bend it's way into the far corner of the net - instead rolling inches wide of the Pool's goal.

Despite the early chances, Southend gave themselves a mountain to climb in the snow as Eifion Williams scored first blood to Hartlepool after twenty minutes. A clever through ball from quick winger Anthony Sweeney cut the Southend defence in two, and despite saving Williams' first attempt Darryl Flahavan could only look on as the frontrunner headed the ball past Adam Barrett's desperate effort to clear the ball.

However the Monkey Hangers lead didn't last - Freddy Eastwood levelling proceedings ten minutes later. Following some hard running from Luke Guttridge, Mark Gower whipped a low cross to the feet of the former Grays forward, and he rifled the ball into the corner of the net for his eleventh goal in seventeen starts so far this season.

Following the eqauliser the Blues once again fell under a huge resistance of attacking threat from Hartlepool, which is where Flahavan really introduced himself to the game.

Darren Craddock fired possibly the home side's cleanest shot of the evening at goal, and with the ball dipping visciously towards the ball of the net, Flahavan somehow managed to bend himself backwards and claw the ball over the crossbar. Flahavan next denied Eifion Williams who was frustrated in his attempts to score his second of the evening - the former Southampton stopper diving at full stetch to prevent the 42nd minute shot from bouncing into the corner of the net, tipping the ball wide of the post. With only seconds of the first half remaining, Flahavan completed an impressive array of saves - instinctively pushing Thomas Butler's 6-yard header away from danger to the relief of the away supporters.

At the start of the second half, the Shrimpers custodian was at it again - this time blocking yet another long range effort from Butler before Flahavan was helped by Luke Guttridge, who did brilliantly to clear Williams' header off of the line.

The Pool went close again with their second free-kick of the match on 67 minutes - this it was Chris Llewellyn instead of Ben Clark who fired wide of the goalframe.

However despite the mounting pressure from the home side, Southend somehow managed to break away downfield and create an opportunity. One which was to be the winning goal.

Shortly after Mark Gower had seen his dipping free-kick punched away by Konstatntopoulos, Pool centre back Michael Nelson was adjudged to have pushed Wayne Gray in the penalty area by referee Andy Hall, and the midlander gave a penalty almost immediately. The Shrimpers supporters could hardly believe their luck as Gray coolly tucked the ball into the bottom right corner of the net, sending the goalkeeper the wrong way.

However whilst some of the Southend fans were doing the conga at the rear of the stand, down the other end of the pitch the referee had once again awarded a penalty - this time in favour of Hartlepool following a aledged pull of the shirt by Duncan Jupp on Chris Llewellyn. Lewellyn stepped up himself, but with four minutes of added time played, Flahavan saved the spot-kick and the follow-up shot for a fairy tale ending for everybody concerned with Southend United Football Club.

The players and management's appreciation to the fans was superb, as the players threw their shirts into the crowd to extend the delight of the Southend supporters who still had a hectic six-and-a-half-hour journey in front of them!

Coca Cola League One, Wednesday, 28th December 2005 @ 19:45; Victoria Park
Click for Hartlepool United squad list
Williams 20
Eastwood 32
Gray 85 (pen)
Click for Southend United squad list
Starting Line-ups
1Konstantopoulos 6
20Craddock 6
5Nelson 7
32Collins 7
16Clark 7
17Clarke 8
8Humphreys 6
24Butler (Maidens 75)6
15Sweeney 6
11Williams, E (Istead 82)7
7Llewellyn (Daly 90)6
Substitutes
21Provett
25Istead (Williams 82)
23Williams, D
34Maidens (Butler 75)
10Daly (Llewellyn 90)


After the game:
16Goal Attempts9
9On Target4
7Off Target5
0Hit Woodwork0
5Offsides3
14Corners3
16Fouls14
Starting Line-ups
1Flahavan 8
5Prior 6
2Jupp 6
3Wilson 6
6Barrett 6
14Cole, M (Bentley 65)6
7Gower 7
16Guttridge (Campbell-Ryce 64)6
8Maher 6
23Eastwood 7
10Gray 7
Substitutes
11Pettefer
15Edwards
12Bentley (Cole, M 65)6
21Campbell-Ryce (Guttridge 64)6
20Lawson
Referee
A Hall, W Midlands
Attendance
3929
Hartlepool U. Cards
Clarke51unsporting behaviour
Southend Utd. Cards
Wilson67unsporting behaviour
Jupp86timewasting

1Brentford 2364219146321810127437244313
2Swansea City 237312695342219126548284220
3Huddersfield Town 247421916443181611853732415
4Southend United 2455218116241814117636254011
5Barnsley 2374123113351112107634233711
6Colchester United 23623201245311111076312337
8

How it all finished up:

Coca-Cola Football League One

Completed Saturday,
6th May 2006
PldHomeAwayOverallPtsGD
WDLFAWDLFAWDLFA
1Southend United 461364371610763527231310724382+29
2Colchester United 46154439217971919221311584079+18
3Brentford 461085352310853729201610725276+20
4Huddersfield Town 461364402561073234191611725973+13
5Barnsley 461111137197792525181810624472+18
6Swansea City 46119342237883632181711785571+23
7Nottingham Forest 461454401557112737191215675269+15
8Doncaster Rovers 46116630199311253220917555169+4
9Bristol City 461175382274122840181117666265+4
10Oldham Athletic 461247322467102636181117586065-2
11Bradford City 46896282561072324141913514961+2
12Scunthorpe United 4688736337793240151516687360-5
13Port Vale 461058302667101928161218495460-5
14Gillingham 461346312138121943161218506460-14
15Yeovil Town 46887272473132738151120546256-8
16Chesterfield 46671031378783236141418637356-10
17Bournemouth 467115252058102433121915495355-4
18Tranmere Rovers 46788323067101822131518505254-2
19Blackpool 46986332739112337121717566453-8
20Rotherham United 46797312657112136121618526252-10
21Hartlepool United 466107283057111629111718445950-15
22Milton Keynes Dons 46887282546131741121420456650-21
23Swindon Town 469593131210111534111520466548-19
24Walsall 46779273447122036111421477047-23

(Article by Adam Duffill, The Little Gazette, Friday December 30 2005.)