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Southend United 0, Accrington Stanley 1
SOUTHEND United’s League Two season started with a disappointing 1-0 defeat at home to Accrington Stanley this afternoon.
Karl Sheppard’s header midway through the second half secured Stanley their first away win since January.
And it also condemned Blues to an opening day defeat.
Southend were not short of changes during the game though and the first of those came after just nine minutes when Ryan Hall had a powerful 12 yard shot parried out by Accrington goalkeeper Ian Dunbavin.
Moments later, the Stanley keeper then easily kept out a long range effort from Gavin Tomlin before Southend came close to opening the scoring on the half hour mark when Michael Timlin’s left wing cross was headed just past the right post by Kane Ferdinand from six yards.
Hall then had a 20 yard free-kick tipped over by Dunbavin and, in the 42nd minute, Prosser clearly handled the ball in to the back of the net after the Stanley keeper had failed to hold a right wing cross from Hall.
The effort was correctly ruled out and Prosser was booked for his part in the proceedings.
After that, Blues debutant Britt Assombalonga stabbed a left wing cross from Gavin Tomlin on to the roof of the net as the first half ended goalless.
However, Southend came looked far sharper at the start of the second half with Sean Clohessy’s right wing cross being tipped on to the crossbar by Dunbavin.
The shot-stopper then did well to divert a low, 20 yard shot from Timlin wide of the right post before Ferdinand headed the resulting Hall corner wide of the left post from close range when he should have scored. With Blues remaining on top, Timin then fired over from 16 yards.
But, having survived the scares, Stanley responded by taking the lead in the 61st minute, with Sheppard on target.
The on loan Reading forward sent a looping 12 yard header in to the right hand side of the North Bank net, but Blues goalkeeper Cameron Belford may well feel he should have saved the effort.
Southend responded in the 71st minute by making a double substitution which saw Ryan Cresswell, who is normally a centre-back, come up for Assombalonga up front.
John Spicer also came on to make his debut in central midfielder as he took Ferdinand’s place in midfield before Neil Harris replaced Ryan Leonard just six minutes later.
After the changes, Cresswell had a header tipped over by Dunbavin before the keeper superbly parried away Mark Phillips’ effort from Hall’s left wing corner.
Tomlin then had a close range shot scrambled off the line by Craig Lindfield but Blues were unable to make a late breakthrough as their season started in disappointing fashion.