Rovers 2-3 Southend
Rovers suffered a disappointing defeat at home to Southend at the Memorial Stadium this evening.
The home side lost 3-2 despite taking the lead on 10 minutes through Fabian Broghammer.
Southend found themselves 2-1 at half time thanks to goals from Gavin Tomlin and Kevan Hurst.
Ryan Creswell made it three for the visitors, before Rovers were awarded a penalty which gave the home side a glimmer of hope of getting something out of the game.
The home side pushed for an equaliser, but to make matters worse Oli Norburn saw red for a challenge of Ryan Leonard.
Mark McGhee made two changes to the side that lost to Sheffield United in the FA Cup last Saturday.
Neil Etheridge returned in goal after being cuptied at the weekend, he replaced Sam Walker.Tom Parkes also returned to the side following his suspension, with Michael Smith the man to make way.
On the bench Danny Woodards was involved for the first time this season, after breaking his leg at the end of last season.
Southend started the game brightly and Neil Etheridge was forced into making an early save from Michael Timlin who shot from the edge of the area.
At the other end, Matt Lund floated a great cross into the box, but Tom Eaves could not quite get enough on it.
Lee Brown then headed over from close range, before Rovers found themselves in front on 10 minutes.
The pacy Broghammer saw his first shot saved by Southend keeper Paul Smith, but he was quick to react and slotted home the rebound into the top right corner.
Southend almost responded immediately, but Kevan Hurst’s shot narrowly over from distance.
Tom Eaves had a chance for Rovers, but Paul Smith was able to push the ball around the post. Neil Etheridge was then forced to make a save at the other end from Ryan Creswell who shot from six yards out.
Tom Parkes then came close to doubling Rovers’ lead, he got his head onto the end of a corner, but the ball went narrowly wide.
Derek Riordan made a good turn and found himself with sight of goal, but his shot from 20 yards missed the target.
Gavin Tomlin equalised just before half time for the visitors, the striker latched on to a ball from Marc Laird, raced down the left and fired the ball through Etheridge’s legs.
And minutes later Hurst’s shot was deflected into the back of the net to give the visitors the lead going into the break.
Mark McGhee made a double substitution at half time, bringing Wayne Brown and Oli Norburn on to replace Jim Paterson and Seanan Clucas.
After the break Britt Assombalonga came close to making it three for the Shrimpers, but he shot into the side netting from 12 yards out.
Tom Parkes then almost levelled things for Rovers after getting his head on the end of a Lee Brown cross, but his shot was parried by the visiting keeper.
Mark McGhee then made his final substitution, bringing on Eliot Richards for Tom Eaves.
Minutes later Southend made it 3-1 from a set piece. Ryan Creswell rose well to power a header into the back of the net from a corner.
Matt Lund then had a chance to get Rovers back into the game, but his sliding shot went just wide of the upright.
Assomblalonga had an effort for Southend, before Mark Phillips blocked a shot from Norburn at the other end.
Rovers were given a lifeline back into the game when they awarded a penalty on 84 minutes after Sean Clohessy fouled Eliot Richards just inside the box.
Dave Clarkson stepped up and slotted the ball home into the bottom right hand corner of the net.
To compound the problems for Rovers, Norburn was shown a straight red card on 87 minutes from time after a challenge on Ryan Leonard.
There was a chance for Rovers to level the match right at the death, but Wayne Brown’s 20 yard shot curved just the wrong side of the post.
Team: Neil Etheridge, Matt Lund, Garry Kenneth, Tom Parkes, Jim Paterson (Wayne Brown), Lee Brown, Seanan Clucas (Oli Norburn), David Clarkson, Fabian Broghammer, Derek Riordan, Tom Eaves (Eliot Richards)
Substitutes: Sam Walker, Michael Smith, Shaquille Hunter, Danny Woodards
Southend: Paul Smith, Sean Clohessy, Ryan Creswell, Mark Phillips, Chris Barker, Michael Timlin, Kevan Hurst, Marc Laird, Tamika Mkandawire, Britt Assombalonga (Barry Corr), Gavin Tomlin (Ryan Leonard).
Substitutes: Daniel Bentley, Anthony Straker, Freddie Eastwood, David Martin, Alex Woodyard.
Referee: Darren Drysdale