Pool 1 Ė 2 United
The Seasiders lose once again at home despite a determined second half performance against Southend United. From the second half showing it was hard to see which team was the one thatís pushing for promotion as it was the Seasiders who had the better chances of the match.
Manager Simon Grayson made one change to the line-up, surprisingly John Dooland was dropped after his man-of-the-match performance last Saturday at Walsall. Simon Wiles started instead of Doolan, Rob Edward was dropped from the bench due to injury which gave way for Ian Morris to come back into the match squad.
It was the Seasiders who had the opening opportunity as Jason Wilcox fired over the bar from a wide position.
Southend were then forced into a early change when Carl Pettefer decided that it was a better idea to head Danny Warrender than the ball, this decision was a bad one as the winger came off worse with a nasty cut under the eye.
Petteferís replacement Mark Gower then had a golden opportunity to get the first goal of the afternoon with a header which rattled Lee Jonesí post, much the relief of the big keeper.
The first flash point of the afternoon came on 36 minutes when James Lawson, who was preferred to Freddie Eastwood, appeared to try and elbow Pool captain Peter Clarke, Lawson didnít make any contact but was given a talking to by referee Matt Massias.
It was Southend who took the lead on 36 minutes, a header from Adam Barrett was cleared off the line but the clearance was then pumped back into the box by Mark Gower, Mark Bently then climbed the highest to simply nod in from six yards out.
The shrimpers then had the chance to double their lead, again the opportunity fell to Mark Bently who fired just over Jonesí bar.
Pool then had a great opportunity to go into half-time level when Simon Wiles went clean through on goal. Wiles carved the opportunity for himself with a one-two with Keigan Parker, but his shot was well smothered by Southendís keeper Flahavan.
The second half saw the introduction of John Murphy and Ian Morris. Murphy replaced Scott Vernon who had struggled to hold up the ball up-front and Ian Morris replaced Mark McGregor, Jason Wilcox dropped to the left-back position.
The substitution worked and the Pool looked much more Ďbright and breezeyí in the second half, as Simon Grayson would say. And it was the substitute John Murphy who had the first opportunity of what was to be a action packed second half. Murphy headed wide after a Keith Southern cross.
Then Simon Wiles had a great opportunity to hit the back of the net, but his shot was nearer to hitting the corner flag than the back of the net. Ian Morris set Keigan Parker free with a great ball down the left wing, Parker cut the ball back to Wiles but he only managed to scuff his shot wide of the Southend goal.
Then it was the turn of Keigan Parker to spurn an opportunity, his muscled his way clean on goal past Barrett, but then fired a low drive wide of Flahavanís post.
Luckily for Parker that opportunity wasnít to be his last, a quick throw-in from the impressive Morris found Parker who managed to make his way up the goal line, he then fired in a splendid curling shot to beat Flahavan at his far post from a tight angle.
After the equaliser it was the Seasiders who looked the more likely to find a winner, Murphy headed over from a Wiles cross and Donnelly tired a cheeky chip which landed on top of the Southend goal.
Then against the run of play a long punt found substitute Freddie Eastwood who was brought on to replace Lawson on 74 minutes. Eastwood made his way in from the left wing and with Peter Clarke backing off he fired a low shot past Lee Jones to give the visitors the lead on 89 minutes.
This was a great second half performance from the Seasiders after a pretty dire first half showing. The introduction of Murphy and Morris gave the side a spark but the introduction of new faces in the side is a must.
Despite coming away from the game with no points the Seasiders must take heart from the fact that they made the now top of the league Southend look a very ordinary side.
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Won all the headers this afternoon and kept Gray quiet. Also much improved distribution and passing.
Lee Jones 6
Danny Warrender 6
Peter Clarke 7
Tony Butler 8
Mark McGregor 6
Simon Wiles 6
Cairan Donnelly 6
Keith Southern 8
Jason Wilcox 6
Keigan Parker 7
Scott Vernon 6
Ian Morris 7
John Murphy 7
Lewis Gobern 6
Yeah, defiantly gobsmaked after the result, average first half, didnít deal with the two crosses that came in, cleared one and then it went back out, nobody dealt with the cross again, and the lads got a free head and scored.
A few words said at half time, I expected them to come back out and respond, and full credit to players that did, they came out and went about their jobs very well.
Keiganís, goal which he took very well, the hardest of the chances that he had.
There will be some in-comings thatís for sure. Like I have said we have agreed fees with clubs, spoke to one of the player and his agents give him our terms. And I have a meeting with another agent in the next half another to talk terms.
Ideally Iíd like to bring ten in if I could, but that isnít going to happen. I ainít going to put any number on it, thereís two that we have agreed fees on already, whether itís two three four five.