Ryan Leonard's first ever brace helps Southend United beat Portsmouth

Echo: Ryan Leonard - scored twice against Portsmouth Ryan Leonard - scored twice against Portsmouth

RYAN Leonard bagged the first brace of his career to secure Southend United the perfect start to the New Year with a dramatic 2-1 win against Portsmouth at Roots Hall yesterday.

The Shrimpers went behind after half an hour when Sonny Bradley finally found a way past the impressive Daniel Bentley.

But Leonard equalised with a deflected effort on the stroke of half-time.

And the energetic midfielder then made sure of all three points for Phil Brown’s side with a crisply struck long range shot two minutes in to stoppage time which he was not sure how to celebrate.

“It was a nice feeling when it went in but I didn’t really know what to do when I scored so I just stood there probably looking a bit silly,” said Leonard, 21.

“It was great to get the goals and it’s the first time I’ve got two in the same game so I’m delighted.

“I’m hoping it won’t be the last because I want to start chipping in with a few more to help the team pick up more wins like this.

“We had to work hard to come out on top but thankfully we did it in the end and we’re all really pleased.”

Leonard’s double strike pushed the Shrimpers up to fourth in the League Two table.

And his eye catching performance in the centre of the park also saw him earn praise from manager Phil Brown.

“Ryan got two goals and I think he’s starting to realise what he actually has in his locker,” said Brown.

“He’s more than six foot tall, he’s strong, powerful, quick and can certainly strike a ball as well.

“We saw that for his second goal here and I think we just about deserved to edge it in the end.”


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