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Southend United 1, Rochdale 1
KEVAN Hurst’s eighth goal of the season secured Southend United a 1-1 draw against Rochdale at Roots Hall tonight.
Dale went in front when Jamie Allen fired home a fine finish.
But his effort was cancelled out on the stroke of half-time by the in-form Hurst.
Rochdale opened the scoring in the 14th minute of the match, with Allen on target.
The young midfielder raced on to the ball after Ian Henderson had seen his shot blocked by a sliding Ben Coker and fired an impressive 16 yard shot in to the top left hand corner of the net, via the underside of the crossbar.
Blues immediately hit back with Will Atkinson shooting straight at visiting goalkeeper Josh Lillis from the edge of the penalty area before defender Luke Prosser somehow stopped Rochdale doubling their lead with a stunning double block on the goal-line.
The Shrimpers defender kept out an initial effort from Scott Hogan and then stood tall to also block Henderson’s shot from the resulting rebound.
Rochdale felt Prosser had handballed the second of his clearances but Blues made the most of the let off by equalising right on the stroke of half-time as Hurst bagged his eighth goal of the season.
The Shrimpers winger impressively cut in off the left hand side of the penalty area and drilled a well struck 16 yard shot in to the back of the North Bank net.
Blues were forced in to making a change at half-time with Mark Phillips coming on for the injured Prosser before Cauley Woodrow also replaced Ryan Leonard in the 56th minute.
Shortly after the striker’s arrival, Rob Kiernan headed over a left wing corner from Hurst but his error at the other end of the field then almost led to Rochdale to regaining the lead as he weak header was followed just wide of the right post by former Blues loanee Matt Lund.
Moments later and, with 72 minutes on the clock, Southend made their final change with Freddy Eastwood coming on to replace Anthony Straker.
And, 10 minutes later, Blues came close to going in front when Michael Timlin’s left wing cross was headed against the top of the crossbar by Corr in the final excitement of the game.