SOUTHEND United surrendered a two goal lead to draw 2-2 with Rochdale with at Roots Hall this afternoon.

Goals from David Mooney and Ryan Leonard put the Shrimpers 2-0 ahead at half-time. Click here for our picture gallery from the match

But Rochdale hit back after the break with Joe Bunney and Michael Rose both netting to ensure the game ended all square.

The visitors, who have still not won at Southend since 1985, almost went in front after just two minutes when midfielder Jamie Allen saw a 20 yard shot pushed wide of the right post by goalkeeper Daniel Bentley.

In reply, Shrimpers striker Joe Pigott soon stabbed a left wing cross from Stephen McLaughlin wide of the right post before former Blues loanee Matt Lund sent a curling effort inches over the crossbar after a neat turn on the edge of the penalty area.

Having survived the scare, Southend soon responded with a fine move down the left hand side which resulted in McLaughlin delivering a low cross just inches away from Pigott.

Blues continued to push forward in search of the game’s opening goal and it nearly came in unexpected circumstances when a deflected low volley from Gary Deegan seemed destined for the back of the net until Peter Vincenti headed the effort over his own crossbar.

However, with 31 minutes on the clock, the Shrimpers wasted an even clearer chance to score when Mooney was played clean through on goal, only for Rochdale goalkeeper Joshua Lillis rushed off his line to block the striker’s effort.

But Mooney was not to be denied for long and, eight minutes later, he fired Blues in front with a penalty.

The spot-kick was given after Lillis chopped down the on-rushing Leonard inside the area and Mooney made no mistake from 12 yards as he slammed his effort high into the top left hand corner of the net.

Two minutes later, things got even better for Blues as they doubled their lead with Leonard on target for the first time this season.

The midfielder collected a pass from McLaughlin, following good hold up play from Pigott, and stroked a low, 12 yard shot into the bottom left hand corner of the net.

In a bid to bounce back, Rochdale made three changes at the break with Calvin Andrew, Nathaniel Mendez-Laing and Rose all entering the action.

But the Shrimpers remained on top with Pigott sending a scuffed half volley from 12 yards straight at Lillis before Cian Bolger also saw a downward header collected by the Rochdale goalkeeper.

The visitors soon replied with Ian Henderson having a firm header tipped wide of the right post by Bentley but, in the 63rd minutes, the visitors were back in the game with Bunney on target as his deflected volley from 16 yards flew into the back of the South Stand net.

With Rochdale remaining on target, Bunney soon came within a whisker of an equaliser as his low, left footed shot from the left hand side of the penalty area flew just inches wide of the right post.

With the Shrimpers attempting to stay ahead manager Phil Brown was forced into his first change of the afternoon in the 71st minute when skipper John White limped off injured and was replaced at right-back by Glen Rea.

But Rochdale were still on the front foot and they equalised in the 78th minute, with Rose on target as he curled a 20 yard free-kick around the left hand side of the Southend wall and into the left hand side of the goal.

The visitors continued to push forward and almost went in front when a mistake from Luke Prosser sent Calvin Andrew clean through on goal.

However, Bentley stood tall to block the striker’s low shot before Blues also came close to bagging a late winner when Mooney battled through before having a powerful shot parried away by Lillis.