Southend United 0 Shrewsbury Town 2: There was no rub of the green this time around as former Shrimpers striker Matt Harrold returned to have a hand in both Shews goals.
If Blues boss Paul Sturrock, who named an unchanged side from Tuesday evening, felt the dice had rolled our way over the previous five games which saw the Shrimpers net 13 points, he'll have thought they were loaded against us in the match, where everything that could go wrong, did.
And we haven't even started discussing the tedious return of Prince Harry, a player so anonymous in his time at Roots Hall I even forgot to mention him in the preview!
Shrewsbury started as a side in the play-off zone should with annoying midget winger Jon Taylor shooting wide, soon to be followed by Matt Harrold making the first of what was to prove many interventions when a 20-yard effort was deflected towards goal forcing a super early save by keeper Rhys Evans.
Inbetween the ever busy and hard working Ryan Hall, and on the way to a fifth S24 man of the match award in seven games, had dragged one of his specialty angled shots across the goal of Shews shot stopper Ben Smith.
Then, on the half-hour, the turning point of the game, a beautiful passing movement by Southend opened up the tight away side's defence allowing Blair Sturrock to find left-back Peter Gilbert, what was he doing there?, who had only Smith to beat from around ten yards out, he hesitated, he shot, it went wide.
And as it turned out, so did the Shrimpers chances of finding a place in the top seven themselves.
There was another Hall attempt on goal, straight at Smith, but that was to prove the Shrimpers last attempt to force the Shrews No.1 to make any sort of save.
A dangerous free-kick by Mark Wright had already been well saved by Evans before the side from Shropshire took the lead and, of course, Harrold was to have a hand in it, literally.
How the linesman on the west stand side missed it only he can answer, clearly controlled illegally Harry laid it off to Taylor who found the Shrimpers defence had gone AWOL, many appealing for a free-kick that was to never come, strode forward a few yards to finish with aplomb passed a helpless Evans just a couple of minutes before the break.
Annoying, as up to that point the home side seemed to have the match in their control, but if you don't take your one clear and very scoreable chance, shame it fell to Gilbert, you leave yourself open to the sharp counter attack, and poor League Two officials.
In fact they could have finished the half two behind but Harrold showed us the form we remembered in south-east Essex when a Wright cross found Harry in a prime position to head home eight yards out, but he only found Evans.
That should have allowed Southend to re-group yet it wasn't to be and when Harrold scored with a terrific strike 25 yards out into the right hand top corner, yes, Harry, the faithful knew at that moment the game was up!
This was followed by the moment that the Shrimpers play-off hopes were possibily carried off on a stretcher, Bilel Mohsni suddenly stooped running and fell on the ground clutching the back of his leg.
Reports later had the star defender seen taken from the ground in an ambulance, oh dear!
Kane Ferdinand went to centre-back and Lee Sawyer, who showed in bursts what he could bring to the team towards the back end of the season, came on a substitute.
Shrewsbury now had the match sewn up and though Luggy brought on Harry Crawford and Louie Soares in an attempt to liven things up but it only ended in the hapless Soares, the missing man Matt Paterson is obviously going the way of Screech at some point, smashing the ball into row Z of the South Bank when he should have at least given Smith some keeping practice.
So that was that, at least a week off for a change to give Luggy a chance to get the team in the right frame of mind, and we are still only three points outside the play-offs, for the long trip to Accrington.
And he can start with top scorer Barry Corr, will the aliens that have put that doppleganger playing in his position at the moment please return the original.
Southend Player Markings - Evans - 6, Clohessy - 6, Barker - 6, Mohsni - 7, Gilbert - 6, Ferdinand - 7, Grant - 6, Easton - 7, Hall - 8, Sturrock - 6 (Crawford - 87), Corr - 4.
Referee: Mr. G. Sailsbury and his comedy linesman - 5.
|Npower League Two, Saturday, 5th February 2011 @ 15:00|
|Southend Utd. Cards|
|Bilel||444TD> ||Unsporting behaviour|
|Shrewsbury Tn. Cards|
|Harrold||564TD> ||Unsporting behaviour|
|Wroe||734TD> ||Unsporting behaviour|