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Struggling Southend United suffering bad breaks
SOUTHEND United's stuttering misfortunes continued with a disappointing 1-1 draw with Wycombe Wanderers at Roots Hall on Saturday.
Blues were far from their from best against the lowly Chairboys but looked likely to get their season back on track when Barry Corr headed them in front midway through the second half.
However, Wycombe hit back with a fortuitous Daniel Bentley own goal and the manner of their equaliser summed up how things are going for the Shrimpers at this stage.
Earlier on in the campaign, such a shot would have rebounded in to the arms of Bentley and Blues would have clung on for all three points.
But right now whatever could go against Blues seems to be happening and Phil Brown's side have now not won in their last nine outings.
Injuries, suspensions, tiredness, poor pitches, bad luck, a lack of options and tinkering with the tactics could all be behind the loss of form.
And, as a result, the Shrimpers have gone from looking like certainties for at least a play-off position to now sweating on a top seven finish.
Eighth placed Plymouth remain just outside the play-offs but are now only two points behind Blues with a game in hand while Newport County can also climb above Southend if they triumph in their three games in hand.
That has happened after an alarming loss of form which has seen the Shrimpers take five points from a possible 24 and they must quickly get back on track if they are to remain in the play-off positions.
For on average during the past 10 seasons, 70 points have been required to secure a top seven finish, meaning Blues need to pick up another 20 points from the 12 games they have left to play.
That equates to almost seven wins which seems unlikely with the side's current run of results.
But the Shrimpers have already shown that they are capable of stringing together successful score-lines this season and will now be hoping to do that again in order to push for promotion.
How that can be happen remains the question on everyone's lips at Roots Hall but the acquisition of John Egan on loan from Sunderland has given Blues what was a much needed boost at the back.
With Luke Prosser, Adam Thompson and Julian Bennett out injured and Luke O'Neill and Cian Bolger having returned to their parent clubs after loan spells, Southend were desperately short of defensive options.
And touch wood, the youngster also avoided getting injured on his debut, unlike Blues' two previous signings!
Egan will now be hoping to help the Shrimpers stay secure at the back and, in truth, they were rarely troubled against Wycombe.
But, further forward, Southend will also be looking to improve and boss Brown may well have to rotate his squad to keep energy levels high during the remaining matches.
In both of the last two seasons Blues have faded away in the last few months and, right now, that looks like happening once again.
There is still time to stem the tide and stop the rot but improvements will need to be made if that is to happen.
New signings may also be required, especially in the final third where Blues rarely seem to threaten and they have now scored just three times from open play in their last seven outings.
Barry Corr worked his way on to the score-sheet at the weekend and caused Wycombe problems with his aerial prowess.
Yet many of his knock-downs went to waste as he was often left isolated in attack.
Such a scenario needs to be eradicated and an additional striker with pace could well be required to get Southend firing again.
But the improvements need to happen soon if the Shrimpers' season is to be rescued and to stop more frustrating setbacks, like against Wycombe on Saturday, continuing to happen.