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Sloppy defending means Morecambe have still never been beaten by Southend United
THERE may be very few certainties in life, but Southend United failing to beat Morecambe now seems to be one of them.
A below par Blues were beaten 3-1 by the Shrimps at Roots Hall on Saturday and have now failed to win any of the seven meetings between the two teams.
Six of those matches have ended in victory for Morecambe, while one has ended all square.
And it was dire defending which led to Southend’s downfall in their latest defeat to Jim Bentley’s team.
Blues should have cleared the ball in the build up to Andrew Fleming’s equaliser, which came just five minutes after Kevan Hurst had given the home-side the lead.
An error from Luke Prosser led to Morecambe taking the lead and Fleming getting back on to the score-sheet right at the start of the second half, while Ryan Leonard was easily beaten by Jack Sampson in the build up to the former Blues striker netting the first senior goal of his career.
That made sure of a third successive defeat for the Shrimpers and Phil Brown will now be looking at how to secure a return to winning ways.
In the build up to Saturday’s game and, after the transfer window had closed, the Blues boss claimed he would only fill the one remaining space in his squad if an emergency arose.
But that could soon be the case at the heart of the back four as Southend are simply crying out for a commanding, no-nonsense centre-back.
Mark Phillips returned from a groin injury to face Morecambe at the weekend but did not look fully fit and, alongside him, Prosser was also below his best.
The former Port Vale defender has made mistakes which have led to opposing sides scoring in the last three games.
And, with the loan window opening again this week, Blues now have the freedom to make the additional signing they are allowed under the terms of the transfer embargo which currently restricts their recruitment.
Another experienced defender seems to be required, especially as the Shrimpers have now leaked seven goals in their last three outings.
Morecambe’s trio of strikes added to that tally and made it a frustrating afternoon similar to the ones the Shrimpers regularly endured at home last season.
Southend found it hard to break down a Morecambe team packing men behind the ball, even when they were reduced to 10 men for the final 20 minutes.
The hosts also played far too narrow for most of the match and the frustration that caused was easy to sense among the crowd.
But, while it was a desperately disappointing afternoon for everyone connected with the Shrimpers, this was the first poor performance of the new season.
And, at League Two level, the odd below par display is unfortunately to be expected during some stages of the campaign.
Without wanting to sound disrespectful, players find themselves in the fourth tier due to not being able to produce the talent they undoubtedly possess at this stage of their careers.
Once they add that to their game, then other clubs will start to circulate or the teams they play for will be pushing for promotion.
Southend’s young group have already shown this term that, when on form, they have what it takes to test the very best teams at this level.
That should give them plenty of encouragement as they look to stop the rot and get back to winning ways after suffering three successive defeats.
And they should also take comfort from the fact they only have to play against Morecambe just once more this season.