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Southend United 3, Barnet 0
BILEL Mohsni hit a first half hat-trick to fire Southend United to a 3-0 triumph over struggling Barnet at Roots Hall on tonight.
The Frenchman took centre stage due to his talent and not his questionable temperament by scoring three times inside the opening 32 minutes of the match.
And the victory was also enough to secure Paul Sturrock’s side at least a place in the end of season play-offs.
Mohsni’s first goal came after just 11 minutes when he fired home from six yards after a 20-yard free-kick from Neil Harris had bounced back off the left post, with Bees goalkeeper Dean Brill well beaten.
Moments later, Mohsni was almost celebrating again as he headed a right-wing cross from Harris only inches wide of the right post and, with Southend staying on top, Harris then also came close to scoring as his scorching 30-yard shot was tipped over by Brill.
Harris remained a major threat in the opening exchanges and, in the 22nd minute, his fine left-wing cross picked out Mohsni at the back post.
But, after bringing the ball down, the right winger could only flash a low shot across the face of goal from a narrow angle.
Mohsni was not to be denied for long though as he doubled Southend’s lead with 25 minutes on the clock.
This time the Frenchman latched on to a deep left-wing corner from Ryan Hall and headed the ball in to the bottom right-hand corner of the net from six yards.
The same combination then saw Blues make it 3-0 in the 32nd minute as another left-wing corner from Hall found the head of Mohsni and he guided the ball in to the right-hand side of the goal despite the best efforts of Sam Deering on the line.
That made it a miserable start for the returning Barnet manager Martin Allen and he immediately responded by making a substitution as Jack Saville replaced Michael Hector in the back four.
Despite the change, Southend remained very much on top with Harris just failing to control a fantastic through ball from Freddy Eastwood only moments before the half-time break.
At the start of the second period, Harris then sent a looping header from Hall’s left-wing cross just inches over the crossbar before Eastwood fired wide of the left post from long range.
But, with the game already won, there was less of an intensity to Blues’ play and they never looked liked extending their advantage.
Most of their opportunities came from long range with Anthony Grant then having a 20-yard shot deflected over the crossbar before Mohsni tried his luck from just inside his own half and saw a back-tracking Brill just claim the ball on his goal-line.
In a bid to liven up the game again, Blues boss Paul Sturrock made his first change of the night in the 80th minute, with David Martin replacing Eastwood.
Kane Ferdinand soon also came on for Grant in midfield but Barnet, who brought on former Southend loanee Alassane N’Diaye midway through the second half, responded by registering their first shot on target of the evening when Ricky Holmes firing straight at Cameron Belford from the edge of the penalty area.
Izale McLeod then headed over from close range in the dying seconds, but Mohsni’s earlier heroics meant it had already been another Friday night at Roots Hall to remember with fondness for all connected with Southend United.
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