Stoppage time winner for Hatters leaves depleted Shrimpers facing long season end
By westfield shrimper
Updated Saturday, 26th March 2011
Stockport County 2 Southend United 1: An injury time winner for the Hatters was a blow too far for a Shrimpers side with 10 regulars out and must have ended any outside play-off hopes the club may have had.
As S24 reported midfielder Lee Sawyer is out injured and possibily for the season, allowing youngster Jamie Stevens to make his debut.
Alex Woodyard comes in for Cyprus bound Kane Ferdinand, playing for the Irish under-19's, to start also in the middle.
Up front rare starts for winger Louie Soares and centre-forward Harry Crawford as Barry Corr was deemed not fit enough after a bug spread in the camp earlier in the week and the 18-goal Irishman was sent to the bench.
The usually exciting Ryan Hall, also struggling a couple of days ago but recovered enough to start at left-back, as he was against Hereford once Johnny Herd limped off in the 18th minute.
With Stockport bottom-of-the-table and also having lost a number of key players, including loanee striker from Roots Hall Matt Paterson and their regular starting keeper, and the away side playing with such an understrength team, play was expected to be cautious with little chances.
And however hard the home side pressed they didn't created anything clear cut, then again Southend hadn'te ven had a shot on target, the belief grew that it would be a set piece would break the deadlock, and so it proved.
Approaching the half-hour after a period of Hatters pressure where they had forced four corners in quick succession, Shrimpers right-back Sean Clohessy was adjudged to have fouled Daniel Rowe after his jinking run placed him in the 12-yard area, and up stepped our Hatter-to-watch Greg Tansey and he put it away for Stockport to have the lead.
This would have worried the watching travelling faithful that such a young side, and one with Louie Soares in it, would struggle to pull it back, a game they really had to win to keep up any chase for an outside play-off place, and Blues boss Paul Sturrock did change to a more fluent 4-4-2 formation with another youthful debutant Teddy Nesbitt slotting in at left-back for Stevens, releasing Hall to go forward. (Nesbitt going on to be our M-O-M with a very assured and promising display.)
In fact it was the now more attacking Hall's free kick that proved to be United's only shot on target during the first 45 and it's easily saved.
Even so, after the break, it was really more of the same, except that the home side was already a vital goal up and with your top scorer not 100% and on the bench, when would Luggy take the gamble and bring him on?
Soares does have a go on 53 minutes but the ball floats harmlessly over home keeper Matt Glennon's crossbar. Sums up his season really.
20 minutes to go and only the second corner for Southend, also tells a tale, and Blair Sturrock can do nothing with it.
At this stage, and as in many of the recent defeats, the Shrimpers were seeing more of the ball, but especially with this line-up, could do little with it, not that County were doing much better, spot-kick aside.
Rowe does have a decent effort for the Hatters from the edge of the box and goes just wide left.
Asante, not Corr, who isn't even warming up, replaces Louie Soares on the 76th minute, the former Aldershot man left the pitch maybe with a groin problem.
Then, on the 81st minute, a life-line, and Luggy's gamble pays off.
Kyle Asante has been a goal machine in the reserves but little was expected in the first team but Nesbitt does well in midfield and finds Crawford who turns inside to slot a lovely pass to the young Shrimpers striker who finishes calmly from inside the box finding the bottom left hand corner.
The equaliser though leads to a period of home pressure and it's Rowe again, but well over the bar, followed by Jamie Wallace, closer but still wide, finally Rowe continues to try his luck, but has none, this is not the finish the away support wanted after the goal.
And sadly for them, it got worse!
Approaching stoppage time Asante handles the ball leading to a direct free-kick which is taken by Matthew Glennon, he finds Anthony Elding whose pass splits the United defence and there's, who else, Daniel Rowe, who gleefully shoots into the top left corner of the goal from close range.
A couple of minutes later the referee ends a poor game that sees Stockport give themselves an outside chance of escaping the drop, while Southend can only really hope to get anywhere near the play-offs if they win all their final seven games, an impossibilty with the squad Luggy has to pick from.
What a waste after all the hard work the manager has put in after that disastrous summer, following an equally awful season.
Transfer embargo, financial chaos, misleading statements from the top; the loyal Shrimpers support deserves better whatever excuses eventually come out from boardroom.
May 7th and a trip to Wycombe seems a long, long way away; blimey, in the state we are at the moment, Aldershot next Saturday is nothing to loook forward to.
Southend player markings: Morris - 6, Clohessy - 5, Coughlan - 5, Barker - 6, Hall - 6, Woodyard - 5, Grant - 6, Stephens - 5 (Nesbitt - 7), Sturrock - 5, Crawford - 6, Soares - 4.
Referee: Mr. C. Pawson - 6.
|Competition: Npower League Two Date: Saturday, 26th March 2011 Kick off: 13:00 Venue: Edgeley Park|
|Stockport Co. |
Tansey 28 (pen)
|2 - 1||Southend Utd. |
|8||Greg Tansey (Fisher 88)|
|19||Tom Fisher (Tansey 88)|
|32||Ben Chu Say|
|4||James Stevens (Nesbitt 46)|
|17||Louie Soares (Asante 76)|
|25||Teddy Nesbitt (Stevens 46)|
|28||Kyle Asante (Soares 76)|
|Stockport Co. cards shown|
|Southend Utd. cards shown|