SOUTHEND United were held to their third stalemate in four games after drawing 1-1 at Accrington Stanley this afternoon.

Stephen Humphrys headed the Shrimpers in front midway through the first half before immediately having to be substituted with what appeared to be a broken nose.

But Accrington hit back after the break to secure a share of the spoils with Dan Barlaser firing home from long range.

With eight minutes on the clock, Stanley skipper Sean McConville saw a long range free-kick tipped wide of the left post by Blues goalkeeper Nathan Bishop.

Moments later, Billy Kee fired wide from long range after a poor clearance from Bishop but, after surviving the scares, the Shrimpers hit back to open the scoring in the 20th minute with Humphrys on target for the fourth time in seven games.

The striker latched onto a long clearance from Bishop, which was misjudged by the Accrington defence and bravely nipped in ahead of Stanley shot-stopper Jonny Maxted to score.

However, Humphrys was clattered into by the home-side’s shot-stopper and, after a lengthy spell of treatment, the forward was stretchered off.

Maxted attempted to carry on between the sticks before also having to go off.

He was replaced between the sticks by Dimitar Evtimov and Stanley stood strong before threatening an equaliser at the start of the second half when Kee’s effort was blocked by the Blues defence after Bishop had fumbled Sean McConville’s free-kick while under pressure.

Blues hit back with Isaac Hutchinson – who replaced the injured Humphrys firing wide of the left post from a narrow angle before Michael Klass did likewise from 20 yards.

With the Shrimpers continuing to look for a second goal, Stephen McLaughlin then sent a powerful effort into the side netting.

But, after Blues had failed to make the most of their opportunities, Accrington hit back to equalise, with Barlaser sending a well struck 2 yard shot flying into the left hand side of the net.

Southend replied with Hutchinson having a close range effort deflected over the crossbar before the hosts hit back and seemed to be awarded a penalty in the 72nd minute when Timothee Dieng slid on in Jordan Clarke.

However, after initially pointing to the spot, referee Eddie Ilderton opted to award just a free-kick after taking the advice of his assistant Richard Wild.

Moments later, Paul Smyth’s effort was blocked at his near post by Bishop before the Shrimpers replied with Michael Turner shooting wide after Taylor Moore had headed on Sam Mantom’s right wing corner.

Mantom then went close to scoring as he raced onto Cox’s through ball and stayed on his feet when attempting to round Evtimov, only for Accrington to scramble the ball clear.

After the wasted opportunity, Blues boss Chris Powell made his second change of the game in the 84th minute as Harry Lennon made his return from injury in place of McLaughlin in a change which saw the visitors revert to a 5-3-2 formation.

But Blues were unable to conjure up a late winner, with Moore heading their best chance wide of the left post in stoppage time after an inviting free-kick from Mantom.