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Southend United 0, Plymouth Argyle 2
SOUTHEND United slumped to a shocking 2-0 defeat at home to struggling Plymouth Argyle this evening.
For the third time in the space of just seven days, Blues failed to beat a team fighting relegation towards the foot of the table at Roots Hall.
And the latest reverse all but ended any slight hopes Paul Sturrock’s side had of making the end of season play-offs.
Argyle looked the more threatening team throughout the match and first threatened in the 15th minute when Joe Bryan’s left wing cross was missed at the near post by Bilel Mohsni and Daniel Bentley, but Ryan Cresswell was on hand to smash the ball clear.
Moments later, Pilgrims striker Jason Banton sent a scuffed shot well wide of the right post from 20 yards before Blues came close to opening the scoring when Cresswell headed a right wing free-kick from Kevan Hurst inches past the right post.
With Southend continuing to press forward, Freddy Eastwood then teed up strike partner Britt Assombalonga with a lofted pass over the top of Plymouth’s defence but the on loan Watford forward sent his shot over the top of the North Bank roof.
Ben Reeves then fired a long range shot straight at Plymouth goalkeeper Jake Cole but Blues had a huge let off in the 36th minute, following a poor pass from Moshni.
The Frenchman conceded possession cheaply to Reuben Reid who teed up Banton and his 12 yard shot was heading for the bottom right hand corner of the net until Paris Cowan-Hall made sure at the far post, only to be ruled offside.
Two minutes later, Southend should have capatilised on the error by taking the lead but after origin ally doing well during the build up, an unmarked Assombalonga headed Hurst’s right wing cross over the North Bank net from 12 yards.
Blues went close to opening the scoring again seven minutes in to the second half when a well struck 25 yard free-kick from Eastwood fizzed only inches past the right post.
But, in the 57th minute, it was Argyle who went in front from the penalty spot after Mohsni made a late, sliding challenge on Bryan inside the area.
Referee James Linington immediately pointed to the spot and substitute Wotton rolled the penalty in to the bottom right hand corner of the net, with Bentley diving in the opposite direction.
Southend almost netted an immediate equaliser when Assombalong had a low, 12 yard shot blocked by the legs of Cole but the on loan Watford striker then made way for Gavin Tomlin in the 62nd minute as part of a double substitution which also saw Barry Corr replace Eastwood.
After the attacking changes, Mohsni also moved further forward and the new look strike-force almost conjured up an equaliser straight away but Tomlin’s 20 yard shot was impressively tipped wide of the right post by Cole.
In reply, Bryan then burst through before sending a low shot wide of the right post but, in the 74th minute, Argyle doubled their lead when Rueben Reid collected the ball in the right hand side of the penalty area before working his way past Sean Clohessy and firing home with a left footed shot from close range.
That made sure of all three points for the Pilgrims during another frustrating 90 minutes for Blues at Roots Hall.