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02 February 2019 Venue Roots Hall Attendance

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Focus On: Southend United

1 February 2019

By Gerry Prewett.

After a frantic last day’s action in the January transfer window Graham Coughlin takes his Bristol Rovers team up around the M25 to face Southend United.

Currently sitting right in the middle of the table the Shrimpers last six game sequences has been, Won, Lost, Won, Lost, Won. Lost. The Shrimpers have actually lost one more game than Rovers, but have accumulated nine more points because they have drawn only twice.

United Boss Chris Powell has had to contend with something of an injury crisis but is frustrated by the lack of consistency. 

In their latest game, the Shrimpers went down to a narrow 1-0 loss to in form Luton (on a 16 game unbeaten run), who completed the double over the Essex team and moved to the top of the table. Hatters defender Matty Pearson netted the only goal of the game midway through the first half at Roots Hall.

The visitors came close to taking the lead in the 20th minute when Jack Stacey's low effort was pushed wide of the left post by Shrimpers goalkeeper Nathan Bishop. It was nine minutes later that James Justin's right-wing corner found the head of Pearson who nodded home from eight yards.

Luton came close to doubling their lead at the start of the second half, when Bishop did well to keep out Sonny Bradley's low volley before Justin fired inches over from 20 yards. In reply, Southend rarely threatened but Shrimpers striker Simon Cox did see a well struck long-range effort tipped wide by James Shea in the 71st  minute. 

Chris Powell was left frustrated that a moment on inattention was the undoing of his side,“It was a tough game but we’ve been beaten by a set play and that’s it. It was a good ball in but one of our defenders isn’t marking Pearson and that gave us a mountain climb.”

“Luton are a very good side but we were prepared for that. You can see why they are where they are and they’re strong all over the pitch. Maybe our final ball was lacking and we didn’t fashion as many chances as we would’ve liked but it’s obviously frustrating.” 

However, Powell was again left ruing the Shrimpers’ injury situation after both Luke Hyam and Stephen Hendrie were forced onto the sidelines during the week. “We lost another two players this week and that’s the way it’s gone for us,” said Powell.

“Luton haven’t changed much at all since Nathan Jones left and you can see the benefit they get from being able to name the same side. I can’t remember the last time I was able to do that but we just have to get on with it because I have every trust in the players we have available. We were close today but just not close enough in the end.” 

In previous meetings the Essex team have a distinct advantage, having won 47 of those games to Rovers’ 40 victories. 32 of those Rovers’ wins have been in the West Country, so just 8 wins for Rovers at the seaside town. The Shrimpers have a better away record than Rovers with 13 wins in the West of England.

The very first meeting between the clubs took place during the First World War as they tied 0-0 at Eastville on 16 January 1915 in an FA Cup match. In the replay at Roots Hall, Southend ran away with it 3-0. Rovers had a shocking record in the seaside town, taking 18 visits to record their first victory and there were only 4 draws in that sequence. In the first 27 games between the teams Rovers only won 8 and Southend 15.

Looking at some of those previous meetings, in 1964-65 season Rovers were looking a strong prospect for promotion. During that spell they had a visit to Southend on 24th  October. Rovers Manager Bert Tann described the match as a nightmare.

Ian Hamilton gave Rovers a 3rd minute lead but then it was all downhill for the Gas, McKinven (2), Smillie and Smith all scored before half-time to give the Blues a 4-1 lead. Hamilton scored two more in the second half, but McKinven and Smith also scored to give a 6-3 final result. Rovers recovered from that to win 3 and draw 2 of their next 5 games. 

By the end of April, they had dropped away from the leading pack. The day after a dull 1-1 home draw with Exeter they needed to beat Southend in their final home game of the season to give themselves a realistic chance of going up. John McKinven gave Southend the lead early in the second half, but then in the last 10 minutes the game exploded into life, Harold Jarman and Alfie Biggs gave Rovers a 2-1 lead with just 2 minutes left, but Watson equalised a minute later.

It was the following season when Southend suffered their first ever relegation, Rovers gained their revenge on 5th March 1966 for a 2-0 defeat inflicted at Roots Hall less than a month before. Harold Jarman, Dave Stone and Johnny Brown hit the net for Rovers with John McKinven once again proving the scourge of the Rovers defence. The score would have been closer had Slack not missed a penalty in the 88th  minute. 

Perhaps the most memorable game between the two clubs as far as Rovers fans are concerned was on 19th April 1974, a 0-0 draw at Roots Hall. Whilst the match itself was not especially exciting the one point was enough to secure promotion to Division 2. Rovers last win at Roots Hall was on New Years Day 2008 when they recorded a 1-0 victory. In the games since there have been 3 single goal defeats and 5 draws.

In the game on the 20th August 2016 Rovers went close to scoring at the end of an uneventful first half when Ollie Clarke saw a 20-yard shot pushed wide of the left post by Shrimpers goalkeeper Mark Oxley. After the break, Southend winger Stephen McLaughlin had an effort easily gathered by Steve Mildenhall before Matty Taylor's 20-yard shot was tipped over by Oxley on the hour mark.

Rovers netted from the resulting Chris Lines corner from the left-hand side as an unmarked Hartley headed home from inside the six-yard box. Southend drew level in the 81st minute when referee Gavin Ward harshly adjudged Ellis Harrison to have handled Jack Bridge's left-wing cross and Cox confidently stroked the penalty past Mildenhall. 

In last season’s end of season match Rovers played for more than half the match with 10 men after Ollie Clarke was sent off for two bookable offences, the second of them for a foul on Sam Mantom. Simon Cox came closest to a Southend winner before Clarke's dismissal, striking the crossbar with a volley, while Ellis Harrison forced home goalkeeper Mark Oxley into a fine second-half save.

United defender Elvis Bwomono remains perplexed by his side’s inconsistent form. The loss to Luton Town at Roots Hall on Saturday means they have not won back to back games since October, “I don’t know why it’s happening but we’re working hard to try and stop it. We want to win games back to back and I just think it’s unlucky we haven’t done that yet.”

“We were all on a high after winning at Bradford and it’s frustrating we haven’t been able to build on that by getting another victory. It was a disappointing game and one we felt we fell just short in unfortunately,” said the 20-year-old defender.

“The goal we conceded was from a set piece but we stayed in it as long as we could. We had a few chances at the end and we nearly got a point. A couple of times the ball went across the box but it just fell behind or in front of someone and it didn’t go for us which was also frustrating.” 

Bwomono was impressed by the Hatters, “They’re up there in the table and they’re a very strong team. They play the same way no matter who they put out. They’re doing well and they’re definitely one of the best teams we’ve played.

“But we’re a strong team too and we felt as though we could’ve taken something from the game. You can never say never about anything in this League because you don’t know what could happen, League One is a tricky League and if you put a few wins together you can get up the table quite quickly. We obviously want to finish as high up as we can.” 

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Match Reports

Match Report: Southend United 1-2 Bristol Rovers

2 February 2019

Liam Sercome and Gavin Reilly on target as Rovers capture three points on the road with an impressive display at Roots Hall.

Liam Sercombe grabbed the opening goal to capitalise on a strong showing in the first 20 minutes  - as the midfielder kept his cool to glance the ball home after Tom Nichols had taken the ball around Nathan Bishop in the Southend goal to set the midfielder a clear sight on the Southend goal.

Nichols was again the provider for the second - this time for Gavin Reilly, as an inch-perfect pass between from the Rovers number 10 sliced through the Southend backline, with Reilly showing a great amount of composure to break closer to goal and stroke the ball underneath the advancing Bishop. 

Rovers looked good value for a two-goal cushion at the interval, but the hosts pulled a goal back as Dru Yearwood's long-range shot bounced awkwardly in front of Jack Bonham, with Simon Cox on hand to force home the rebound from point-blank range. 

The win stretches Rovers' unbeaten sequence on the road to five in all competitions - ahead of an important fixture against Shrewsbury Town at the Mem in seven days time.

In naming his starting XI for the fixture, Manager Graham Coughlan opted to make just the single change from the promising display four days prior at the Mem against Peterborough United.

The switch saw Abu Ogogo drafted in for his Rovers debut, as the midfielder replaced Chris Lines in the starting eleven.

Fellow deadline-day addition, Jonson Clarke-Harris, started the game on the bench, as Gavin Reilly and Tom Nichols continued their partnership at the forefront of the Rovers attack.

Rovers enjoyed a bright start to the contest and forged out the first opportunity of the game. Quick movement from Tom Nichols saw the striker cut inside the Southend box and carve out a low ball that picked out the run of Gavin Reilly. The forward took a touch to kill the pace on the ball and saw his poked effort blocked. The rebound fell to Sercombe, who also saw his follow up effort blocked.

Coughlan's side enjoyed the majority of the ball in the early stages and demonstrated a showing of patient build-up play. 

Ollie Clarke seized the opportunity to test Bishop from range, as the midfielder's effort forced the Southend goalkeeper to push the ball into the reaches of Gavin Reilly, who escaped the offside flag and stayed onside, only for his rebounded effort to be tipped away from Bishop.

Rovers continued to take the game to the hosts and kept stringing together opportunities. On a break, Ollie Clarke drove forward and was able to slide a pass through to Liam Sercombe. The midfielder shifted the ball to his right-foot and look to play the ball back across goal, but his delivery was cleared behind for a corner.

With the flurry of chances, Rovers deservedly took the lead on the 20-minute mark. The move was started by tireless chasing down from Tom Nichols, as the striker darted to a loose ball and was able to get there ahead of the advancing Bishop. The striker took a touch to knock the ball past Bishop and lay off a pass to Liam Sercombe, who coolly stroked the ball into the net.

As half-time approached, the away side looked good value for the comfortable lead that the goals from Sercombe and Reilly had assembled.

It took a stroke of fortune for the hosts to seize a way back into the encounter. That formulated when a long-range attempt from Yearwood took a bounce in front of Jack Bonham, who couldn't hold the shot, with Simox Cox touched the rebound home from close-range.

In stoppage time, Cox again worked himself free inside the Roves area, flashing a fierce volley across the face of goal and wide for a goal-kick.

The early stages of the second half saw Rovers glance the Southend crossbar, as new man Ogogo forged a pass through to Gavin Reilly, who witnessed his powerfully struck shot bounce clean back off the frame of the goal, with Tom Nichols lifting a first-time rebound over the target.

On the hour mark, deadline day addition Clarke-Harris was introduced, with Gavin Reilly the man to make way.

The striker was involved instantly and almost muscled his way to meet a clever set-piece into the mix from Tareiq Holmes-Dennis.

The home side thought that they had levelled the game with twenty minutes to go, in similar circumstances to the first goal Rovers conceded. This time it was a strong hand from Bonham that turned away a powerfully struck effort from McLaughlin, where the rebound say kindly again for Simon Cox, who was greeted by the linesman's flag shortly after his tap-in had rippled the net.

As the game entered the final ten minutes, debutant Clarke-Harris crafted a shooting opportunity, as the striker worked Bishop with a controlled effort from the edge of the area.

Rovers showed good game management in the closing stages and limited both Southend's time on the ball and ventures into the final third to hold onto the three points and climb out of the bottom four in the league table.

Rovers XI: Jack Bonham (GK), Joe Partington, Tom Lockyer (c), Tony Craig, Tareiq Holmes-Dennis, Ollie Clarke, Abu Ogogo, Liam Sercombe (90+1 James Clarke), Alex Rodman, Gavin Reilly (59' Jonson Clarke-Harris), Tom Nichols (74' Alex Jakubiak).

Subs: Adam Smith (GK), Gabriel Osho, Ed Upson, Chris Lines.

Southend United: Nathan Bishop, Elvis Bwomono, Taylor Moore, Michael Turner (45' Michael Turner), John White, Sam Hart (81' Charlie Kelman), Dru Yearwood, Sam Mantom (C), Timothee Dieng (45' Stephen McLaughlin), Stephen Humprhys, Simon Cox.

Subs: Ted Smith, Norman Wabo,  Issac Hutchinson. 

Attendnace: 5,633 (349 away)

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Ticket News

Ticket Update: Southend Tickets on General Sale

30 January 2019

Tickets for our trip to Roots Hall this Saturday are on general sale until Friday 1st of February at 11am.

Rovers head east to take on Chris Powell's side on Saturday 2nd of February with the usual 3pm kick off.

Ticket prices for the fixture are as follows;

Adults £22
60+ £15
Student (Valid ID) £14
17-22  £14
Disabled w/free carer £14
9-16 £10
Under-8s £4
Emergency Services £15

Disabled tickets will be sold in accordance with the person's age and priced as above - the carer's ticket is complimentary.

Advanced tickets for this fixture will go off sale at 11am on Friday 1st of February.

Tickets for the fixture will not be available online, with purchasing options for supporters being offered in store or by calling, 0117 9096648 (extension 1). 

 

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