SUBSITUTE David Worrall bagged a brilliant late equaliser to secure Southend United a 1-1 draw at Fleetwood Town this afternoon.

The Shrimpers seemed to be heading for defeat on their return to League One when Declan McManus fired Fleetwood in front midway through the first half.

But Worrall came off the bench to bag a brilliant leveller six minutes from time to ensure the game ended all square.

Fleetwood had previously looked lively in attack and, with four minutes on the clock, they came close to opening the scoring when Bobby Grant turned Cian Bolger inside the box before seeing his curling, left footed shot superbly tipped wide of the left post by Daniel Bentley.

Blues then hit back with Myles Weston and Anthony Wordsworth doing well to tee up David Mooney whose 16 yard shot was smothered by Fleetwood goalkeeper Chris Maxwell.

But, in the 33rd minute, Fleetwood took the lead with McManus on target.

The Scottish striker, who was making his debut after signing from Aberdeen, latched onto a loose header from Bolger and fired a fantastic 25 yard shot high into the top right hand corner of the net.

Fleetwood came close to doubling their lead right at the start of the second half when tall, targetman Jamille Matt headed straight at Bentley from close range.

Moments later, the hosts were denied by the woodwork when McManus slammed a 14 yard shot against the underside of the crossbar after being picked out by Amarii Bell’s low, left wing cross.

In reply, Southend soon also threatened with Kevan Hurst having a powerful 25 yard shot parried to safety by Maxwell.

But, in a bid to become even more of a threat, Blues boss Phil Brown made his first substitution of the game in the 58th minute with summer signing Noel Hunt coming on to replace Will Atkinson.

The switch saw Weston move onto the left wing and, in the 65th minute came another alteration, with Worrall coming on in place of Hurst.

Five minutes later, Brown made his third change with the returning Joe Pigott coming on for Mooney up front.

Immediately after Pigott’s introduction the on loan Charlton Athletic striker saw a bundled shot cleared off the goal-line by Conor McLaughlin.

Pigott then teed up Hunt who saw a well struck half-volley pushed wide of the left post by Maxwell.

But Blues continued to push forward with Wordsworth slashing a shot wide of the right post from eight yards before the visitors drew back level, courtesy of an excellent effort from Worrall.

The lively winger reacted sharply after Pigott’s low shot had been blocked by Maxwell and he superbly curled a long range shot, from the left touch-line, high into the top right hand corner of the net to secure a share of the spoils from the Shrimpers.