Crewe Alexandra 1, Southend United 0

Echo: Bilel Mohsni heads over for Blues Bilel Mohsni heads over for Blues

SOUTHEND United must come from behind if they are to win their play-off semi-final against Crewe Alexandra after losing 1-0 in the first leg at Gresty Road this afternoon.

Adam Dugdale bagged the only goal of the game at the start of the second half as he became the first player to score against Blues in more than eight hours of action.

And that means Paul Sturrock’s side will be playing catch up when the two teams meet again at Roots Hall on Wednesday.

Crewe deserved the narrow advantage and, buoyed by a noisy crowd, they started brightly but initially struggled to create clear cut chances as a well organised Blues back four stood firm.

However, further forward Southend seemed nervous early on and often carelessly conceded possession in the opening exchanges.

That invited pressure back on to Blues and, in the 23rd minute, the highly rated Nick Powell cut in off the left flank and unleashed a curling cross which was diverted to safety by Southend goalkeeper Cameron Belford.

In reply, Michael Timlin then registered the visitors’ first shot of the afternoon on target as his low 25 yard shot was smothered by Crewe keeper Steve Phillips.

The home-side were soon back on top though and, during that spell of pressure, Blues centre-back Mark Phillips picked up what appeared to be quite a nasty shoulder injury while under pressure from A-Jay Leitch-Smith.

After receiving a lengthy spell of treatment, Phillips returned to the pitch but still seemed to be in a lot of discomfort.

Despite that, attention soon turned to other end of the field as Kane Ferdinand headed over a deep right wing cross from Ryan Hall.

Moments later, Crewe replied with Luke Murphy sending a well struck 30 yard shot wide of the left post in the closing action of the first half.

But the Railwaymen were not to be denied for long and, four minutes in to the second period they bagged what proved to be the only goal of the game, with Dugdale netting his fourth goal of the season.

The tall centre-back rose high at the back post, having escaped the attentions of Bilel Mohsni, to head a deep free-kick from Ashley Westwood over the head of Belford and in to the right hand side of the goal.

The headed effort was the first goal Blues had conceded since Good Friday at Bradford City and it was soon followed by a substitution from Sturrock as Ryan Leonard returned to action following a knee injury which had kept him sidelined since January.

Leonard’s arrival came on the hour mark in place of Ferdinand as Southend changed to a 4-4-2 formation with Mohsni moving in to attack, alongside Neil Harris.

After the alteration, Anthony Grant and Ryan Hall both dragged long range efforts wide of the right post.

But, in the 65th minute, only a stunning save from Belford stopped Crewe doubling their lead as the on loan Bury shot-stopper tipped over a powerful shot from Leitch-Smith when he was clean through on goal.

The striker got the better of Phillips to register a rising half volley and that led to the centre-back finally going off with the shoulder injury he suffered in the first half.

He was replaced by Luke Prosser at the heart of the back four and Southend immediately came close to equalising when Mohsni headed Leonard’s right wing cross down in to the path of Timlin whose low drive was smartly saved by the legs of Phillips.

Following that, Blues boss Sturrock made his third and final change of the afternoon in the 73rd minute with Freddy Eastwood replacing Harris up front.

And the new look forward line almost resulted in producing an equaliser when Hall’s right wing cross picked out Mohsni at the back post.

However, the Frenchman could only head over the crossbar from close range when he should have done better.

Hall then had a low 12 yard shot tipped wide of the right post by Phillips but only a superb last ditch challenge from Prosser then stopped Powell scoring at the other end of the field.

That kept Southend in the tie and they again could have levelled in the dying seconds when Timlin failed to connect properly with an excellent pass from Grant before Eastwood’s follow up effort also struck Timlin.

Comments (12)

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10:10am Sun 13 May 12

JimmySays1 says...

Theres always next year Im afraid
Theres always next year Im afraid JimmySays1

1:32pm Sun 13 May 12

Rachy7 says...

And there's wednesday it's only half time! UTB!
And there's wednesday it's only half time! UTB! Rachy7

4:27pm Sun 13 May 12

benfleetblue says...

Sturrock needs to start Eastwood at roots hall otherwise its league 2 next season.
Sturrock needs to start Eastwood at roots hall otherwise its league 2 next season. benfleetblue

5:57pm Sun 13 May 12

orsettblue says...

We're a strange side, top scorers but at times, just knock it up in the air to nobody in particular and hope something comes off.

Timlin needs to get his foot in, he shirked several challenges yesterday; if we go up, we need a solid central midfielder.

Eastwood must start - we have to score as simple as that. Hope we start at a good tempo and keep 11 men on the field.

My gut feeling though is it will be 1-1.
We're a strange side, top scorers but at times, just knock it up in the air to nobody in particular and hope something comes off. Timlin needs to get his foot in, he shirked several challenges yesterday; if we go up, we need a solid central midfielder. Eastwood must start - we have to score as simple as that. Hope we start at a good tempo and keep 11 men on the field. My gut feeling though is it will be 1-1. orsettblue

9:36pm Sun 13 May 12

Rachy7 says...

Agree, Eastwood must start. come on blues!
Agree, Eastwood must start. come on blues! Rachy7

11:21am Mon 14 May 12

bong74 says...

we played s--t,we cannot pass the ball and our defence is crap to. i cannot see them turning things round at roots hall, but i hope im wrong!!
we played s--t,we cannot pass the ball and our defence is crap to. i cannot see them turning things round at roots hall, but i hope im wrong!! bong74

11:23am Mon 14 May 12

bong74 says...

Rachy7 wrote:
Agree, Eastwood must start. come on blues!
you cannot, win the game with just one man, the team needs to play as a unit!!
[quote][p][bold]Rachy7[/bold] wrote: Agree, Eastwood must start. come on blues![/p][/quote]you cannot, win the game with just one man, the team needs to play as a unit!! bong74

2:25pm Mon 14 May 12

gary 51 says...

I think we are kidding ourselves, SUFC this season are not good enough and it will be straight down again next season if we were lucky enough to win the play offs. A cash injection is needed to strengthen the squad but where is that going to come from? Fleetwood Town next season I am afraid.
I think we are kidding ourselves, SUFC this season are not good enough and it will be straight down again next season if we were lucky enough to win the play offs. A cash injection is needed to strengthen the squad but where is that going to come from? Fleetwood Town next season I am afraid. gary 51

3:42pm Mon 14 May 12

thundersleycobbler says...

I know it was not the best performance, but it is only half Time.I think you will still be going to Wembley. Your keeper made one save that has kept you in the tie. Good Luck
I know it was not the best performance, but it is only half Time.I think you will still be going to Wembley. Your keeper made one save that has kept you in the tie. Good Luck thundersleycobbler

3:42pm Mon 14 May 12

thundersleycobbler says...

I know it was not the best performance, but it is only half Time.I think you will still be going to Wembley. Your keeper made one save that has kept you in the tie. Good Luck
I know it was not the best performance, but it is only half Time.I think you will still be going to Wembley. Your keeper made one save that has kept you in the tie. Good Luck thundersleycobbler

9:26pm Mon 14 May 12

benfleetblue says...

bong74 wrote:
Rachy7 wrote:
Agree, Eastwood must start. come on blues!
you cannot, win the game with just one man, the team needs to play as a unit!!
Yes, but we had no punch up front untill Eastwood came on-we have to attack more otherwise we will not score
[quote][p][bold]bong74[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Rachy7[/bold] wrote: Agree, Eastwood must start. come on blues![/p][/quote]you cannot, win the game with just one man, the team needs to play as a unit!![/p][/quote]Yes, but we had no punch up front untill Eastwood came on-we have to attack more otherwise we will not score benfleetblue

11:10am Tue 15 May 12

bong74 says...

benfleetblue wrote:
bong74 wrote:
Rachy7 wrote:
Agree, Eastwood must start. come on blues!
you cannot, win the game with just one man, the team needs to play as a unit!!
Yes, but we had no punch up front untill Eastwood came on-we have to attack more otherwise we will not score
If we play eastwood at the start, the midfield needs to push forward, and feed the strikers, and we must keep a strong back 4, we must attack from the start, and not keep giving the ball away!!!
[quote][p][bold]benfleetblue[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]bong74[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Rachy7[/bold] wrote: Agree, Eastwood must start. come on blues![/p][/quote]you cannot, win the game with just one man, the team needs to play as a unit!![/p][/quote]Yes, but we had no punch up front untill Eastwood came on-we have to attack more otherwise we will not score[/p][/quote]If we play eastwood at the start, the midfield needs to push forward, and feed the strikers, and we must keep a strong back 4, we must attack from the start, and not keep giving the ball away!!! bong74

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