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Southend United 2, AFC Wimbledon 0
TWO familiar faces combined to fire Southend United to a 2-0 triumph over AFC Wimbledon at Roots Hall this afternoon.
Freddy Eastwood and Anthony Grant have made more appearances for Blues than any other players in Paul Sturrock’s squad.
And they were both on target as Blues got back to winning ways against the Dons.
Eastwood headed Southend in front after 70 minutes before Grant completed the scoring late on with his first goal of the season.
But the exciting conclusion to the game was in stark contrast to an uneventful start.
Ryan Hall momentarily livened up proceedings in the 17th minute by unleashing a low, 25-yard shot which was smartly smothered by Dons goalkeeper Seb Brown.
The visitors then hit back with midfielder George Moncur firing straight at Blues shot-stopper Cameron Belford from a similar distance before Byron Harrison curled a long-range shot wide of the right post.
The game was momentarily halted in the 23rd minute when a strong challenge between Michael Timlin and Samuel Hatton burst the ball.
And Southend threatened first with the replacement as Eastwood spread a delightful cross-field pass in to the path of David Martin who could only drag his 18-yard shot wide of the right post.
The Dons survived the scare but, with 36 minutes on the clock, they were forced in to making a change as Canvey Island-born midfielder Billy Knott limped off and had to be replaced by Rashid Yussuff.
Blues immediately attacked after the change, with Timlin firing past the right post from the edge of the penalty area but, on the stroke of half time, Dons also threatened with a deflected Christian Jolley centre fizzing across the face of goal.
Wimbledon, who made seven changes to their side which lost to Rotherham on Good Friday, continued to attack at the start of the second half with Jason Prior shooting just over from 16 yards.
But, in a bid to improve his side, Southend boss Sturrock then made his first substitution of the afternoon, with Neil Harris replacing Martin in the 57th minute.
The switch saw Bilel Mohsni go on to the right wing and Hall onto the left before Dons also made an alteration in the 64th minute with former Blues loanee Jack Midson joining their attack in place of Prior.
It was still Southend who pushed forward next though with Eastwood volleying over from 25 yards before an unmarked Mohsni headed over a left-wing corner from Hall.
However, Blues were not to be denied and they opened the scoring in the 70th minute, with Eastwood converting from close range.
The goal came after Hall took a short right wing corner before delivering a deep cross to the back post where Mark Phillips headed the ball back in to the danger zone to allow Eastwood to nod the ball into the bottom left hand corner of the net from six yards.
Thirteen minutes later, Southend were forced into making their second change of the afternoon with Luke Prosser limping off to be replaced by Chris Barker at centre-back.
But that did not disrupt Blues and made sure of their victory in the 90th minute when Eastwood teed up Grant who thundered a 25-yard shot into the bottom left hand corner of the net.
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