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Southend United 2, Northampton Town 0
SOUTHEND United made it their best start to a season in 23 years with a 2-0 triumph over 10 man Northampton Town at Roots Hall this afternoon.
Goals from Anthony Straker and Freddy Eastwood secured the Shrimpers a comfortable win.
But the Cobblers were forced to play than an hour with 10 men after winger Chris Hackett was dismissed after being shown two yellow cards.
Before then however, Northampton wasted a great chance to open the scoring when referee Andy Davies pointed to the spot after Will Atkinson had brought Joe Widdowson inside the penalty area after just eight minutes.
But former Shrimpers striker Roy O’Donovan saw his spot kick saved by Daniel Bentley who dived well to his left hand side to parry the shot to safety.
The home-side recovered well and could have gone ahead in the 20th minute when Ben Coker’s left wing cross picked out an unmarked Atkinson 12 yards from goal.
However, the former Bradford winger could only head wide of the left post when he should have done better.
The miss did not prove costly though and, in the 22nd minute, visiting winger Hackett was sent off after being shown a second yellow card.
Hackett had previously been booked for a foul on Coker and was dismissed for another late challenge, this time on Anthony Straker.
And Blues made their extra man count in the 38th minute, with Straker grabbing his first ever goal for the Shrimpers.
The winger was hit by a low, long range shot from Freddy Eastwood and as the ball looped up in the air he reacted quickly to head past the advancing goalkeeper, Matt Duke, from close range.
After the break, Shrimpers boss Phil Brown was forced in to making his first change of the afternoon as Marc Laird limped off and was replaced by Connor Clifford in central midfield.
But, despite the alteration, Southend doubled their lead in the 64th minute when John White played a fine through ball in to the path of Eastwood who drilled a low, right footed shot in to the bottom left hand corner of the net from 12 yards.
Blues then wasted some good chances to increase their lead with both Barry Corr and Atkinson being denied by Cobblers goalkeeper Duke.
However, the Shrimpers comfortably held on to continue their impressive start to the new season.