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ROVERS UNLUCKY TO DRAW AT SOUTHEND UNITED

20 August 2016

Southend United 1-1 Bristol Rovers

Attendance: 6,084 (518)

Rovers were unlucky to leave Roots Hall with a point after a 1-1 draw with Southend United.

Simon Cox's second half penalty canceled out Peter Hartley's header as both sides shared the points.

Darrell Clarke named an unchanged side to face Southend United at Roots Hall with just one change to the matchday squad as Mark McChrystal replaced Billy Bodin who was suffering with an illness.

The game started very slowly with both sides feeling each other out with the home side enjoying larger spells of possession.

Southend looked pretty sharp going forward as Luke O'Neill flashed a low cross into the Rovers penalty area but no one was able to get on the end of it.

At the other end of the field it took Rovers 20 minutes to register their first shot on target as Ollie Clarke was able to pick out Ellis Harrison on the edge of the penalty area but his low shot was easy for Mark Oxley.

Rovers continued to look strong at the back but lacked any real presence going forward with their only real effort of note being a long range effort from James Clarke that went wide of Mark Oxley's right hand post.

Moments later a nice bit of movement from Luke O'Neill created some space inside the Rovers penalty area but his shot went straight into the hands of Mildenhall.

The only real effort from either side came just before the break as Ollie Clarke crafted himself some space on the edge of the United penalty area and forced a save out of Mark Oxley but the Southend keeper gather the resulting corner well.

Southend started the second half well with a succession of chances inside the opening five minutes. The first two strikes were blocked well by Daniel Leadbitter and Ollie Clarke respectively before Ryan Leonard fired the third wide of Steve Mildenhall's goal.

At the other end of the field Rovers were limited in their chances with the best effort coming in the form of a long range strike from Matty Taylor that was tipped over the crossbar by Mark Oxley.

From the resulting corner, Chris Lines whipped a pin-point delivery into the six-yard box where Peter Harley was unmarked and on hand to power home the goal that the game really needed.

The home side tried to hit back immediately as substitute Jermaine McGlashan was put through on the right hand side but James Clarke was on hand to clear his squared pass.

Darrell Clarke's side seemed to grow in confidence with the goal with Ellis Harrison winning the ball well in the middle of the park. The Wales Under-21 International was then able to find Chris Lines in acres of space but his curled effort went just wide.

With 10 minutes of the game remaining Southend were handed a lifeline as referee Gavin Ward judged that Ellis Harrison had handled the ball inside the penalty area. Simon Cox stepped up and sent the Steve Mildenhall the wrong way to draw the game level.

Rovers can feel hard done by to not leave Roots Hall with all three points after what was a very harsh decision on Ellis Harrison for the penalty but up next for Darrell Clarke's men is a visit to Stamford Bridge to take on Chelsea in the Second Round of the EFL Cup.

Southend: Oxley, Demetriou (Williams - 77), Barrett, Thompson, Coker, O'Neill (McGlashen - 64), Leonard, King, McLaughlin, Mooney (Bridge - 66), Cox.

Unused Substitutes: Smith, White, Sokolik, Atkinson.

Rovers: Mildenhall; Leadbitter, J. Clarke, Lockyer (C), Hartley, Brown; O. Clarke, Lines, Sinclair; Taylor (Easter - 74), Harrison (Gaffney - 85).

Unused Substitutes: Puddy (GK), McChrystal, Montano, Broom, James, Gaffney.

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