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Southend United 2, Exeter City 1
LATE goals from substitute strikers Barry Corr and Freddy Eastwood handed Southend United a 2-1 win over high-flying Exeter City at Roots Hall this afternoon.
Scott Bennett fired the Grecians ahead at the start of the second half but Corr, who was making his comeback from 17 months out with injury, nodded Blues back level in the 78th minute.
And, just 10 minutes later, Eastwood headed home at the back post to secure all three points for Paul Sturrock’s side.
However, in contrast to the late drama, the game started slowly and there was little excitement in an uneventful first half.
With 20 minutes on the clock, Jamie Cureton fired straight at Daniel Bentley from 20 yards but, almost straight away, Blues hit back with John Spicer shooting over from a promising position after good work from Britt Assombalonga down the left hand side.
Moments later, Ryan Cresswell sent a 20 yard flying just past the left post but Exeter immediately with the in-form Jamie Cureton shooting inches wide of the target after good approach play from Jimmy Keohane.
But, five minutes after the break, the Grecians opened the scoring when Matt Oakley’s right wing cross was back healed at the near post by Pat Baldwin, enabling Bennett to sweep the ball home with a low, right footed finish from six yards.
The goal infuriated Blues’ assistant manager Graham Coughlan who screamed at the Southend defence for not having pushed out sooner.
With Exeter continuing to push forward, Cureton then shot straight at Bentley from the edge of the penalty area before Southend manager Sturrock made a double change in the 57th minute in a bid to get back in to the game.
Eastwood came on in for Elliot Benyon in attack while Ryan Leonard replaced David Martin on the left flank and, in the 71st minute, Corr also entered the action in place of John Spicer.
It was the Irishman’s first game in more than a year after he was hit by knee and groin injuries but, after his introduction, Blues began to get on top.
As a result, Luke Prosser soon fired on to the roof of the net from 20 yards before Exeter keeper Artur Krysiak pulled off a fine double save to keep out a low effort from Kevan Hurst and also diverted Britt Assombalonga’s follow up effort over the crossbar from a narrow angle.
But from the resulting corner in the 78th minute, Hurst played it short to Clohessy who delivered a deep right wing cross on to the head of Corr who nodded the ball in to the bottom right hand corner of the net from six yards.
Southend then almost went in front when Eastwood played through Assombalonga but, off balance, he could only fire wide of the right post.
However, Blues were still able to claim all three points as, two minutes from time, Eastwood headed home a left wing cross from Chris Barker to complete a successful comeback.