KEVAN Hurst’s ninth goal of the season secured Southend United a 1-1 draw at Plymouth Argyle this afternoon.
The Shrimpers went behind midway through the second half at Home Park when a deflected long range shot from Dominic Blizzard put the Pilgrims in front.
But Hurst’s well taken finish made sure of a share of the spoils for Blues who also extend their unbeaten run to six matches.
The game, between two of League Two’s most in form sides, took a while to get going and Plymouth were on top in the opening exchanges.
With five minutes on the clock, Argyle came close to taking the lead when Conor Hourihane’s right wing free-kick was missed by a host of bodies inside the penalty area before Daniel Bentley reacted sharply to push it around the left post.
The Shrimpers shot stopper then did superbly well to deny the Pilgrims again in the 17th minute when he somehow clawed away a six yard shot from Reuben Reid after Curtis Nelson had headed down a right wing corner from Andres Gurrieri.
After surviving the scares, Southend soon hit back with Ben Coker having a curling 20 yard free-kick tipped around the right post by Pilgrims goalkeeper Luke McCormick.
Moments later, Barry Corr headed Kevan Hurst’s right wing cross wide of the left upright before Hurst sent a cross shot, from the right hand side of the penalty area, flying across the face of goal.
With the Shrimpers remaining on top towards the end of the first half, Hurst had a well struck free-kick tipped over by McCormick.
But Plymouth were back on top at the start of the second half with Reid’s shot striking Mark Phillips and landing on the roof of the net.
That sparked the Shrimpers in to their first substitution in the 57th minute as Cauley Woodrow came on for Conor Clifford as the visitors also switched to a 4-4-2 formation.
The on loan Fulham forward’s first involvement saw him head Ryan Leonard’s right wing cross wide of the left post.
However, Plymouth hit back to open the scoring in the 65th minute when Blizzard’s powerful 25 yard shot deflected off of Michael Timlin before looping over Bentley and nestling in the back of the net.
But Plymouth’s lead lasted just three minutes as Woodrow’s through ball teed up Hurst who outmuscled Argyle left-back Ben Purrington and stabbed the ball home with a low shot from 16 yards.
Anthony Straker and Hurst then both had long range shots smothered by McCormick before Blues boss Phil Brown made his second change of the afternoon in the 74th minute with Freddy Eastwood replacing Corr in attack.
But it was Plymouth who threatened next with Reid impressively working his way past three men before seeing his low shot blocked by the on-rushing Bentley.
The hosts then came even closer to regaining the lead deep in to stoppage time when Nelson slammed a close range shot against the inside of the right post and Lewis Alessandra fluffed his shot from the resulting rebound to ensure the game ended all square.