IF the current season is to be completed then Echosport’s chief reporter Chris Phillips will have reported on 900 Blues games for the paper.

In the next few weeks he will be picking his favourite 10 matches covering the club.

The first of which happened in Wales.

THINK of memorable games for Southend United at Swansea City and you will automatically think of the Shrimpers securing promotion to the Championship.

But, three years before Luke Guttridge danced around the Liberty Stadium in his pants, Blues bagged one of the most dramatic victories in their history as they became the first side in Football League history to score with just eight men.

The match: The afternoon began badly for Blues with James Thomas firing Swansea in front but, just three minutes later, the visitors got back on track, with Leon Constantine hitting the back of the net.

However, just moments later, Shrimpers defender David McSweeney was sent off for kicking out at Andy Robinson.


Dismissed - assistant manager Paul Brush was ordered from the dug out

But, despite their numerical disadvantage, Southend regained their lead on the stroke of half-time with Mark Gower on target.

Blues remained 2-1 in front heading into the closing stages but the game exploded into life in the final five minutes.

Gower and Jay Smith were both red carded by George Cain who then also ordered assistant manager Paul Brush to the sidelines.

But, remarkably, Blues extended their lead with eight men when centre-back Mark Warren, of all people, popped up to fire home the rebound after Drewe Broughton had been denied.

Thomas replied late on for the Swans but the Shrimpers held on to secure a remarkable victory in their bid to avoid relegation.

Player’s memories: Leon Constantine insists he will never forget the day the Shrimpers saw off the Swans with just eight men.

The striker bagged Blues’ first goal of the game at the Vetch Field.

But he still cannot believe what happened after that.

“To win at Swansea took some doing in itself but to win there with just eight men was just unthinkable really,” said Constantine.

“I remember I was up against Alan Tate that day and he was on loan from Manchester United which shows the calibre of player they were bringing in.

“But I really did feel as though I ruined him that day.”


Hitting the back of the net - Leon Constantine fires home for Blues

Constantine played a key part in the victory but he was not too surprised to see Mark Warren pop up and score.

“Mark was a good player,” said Constantine.

“He was good on the ball and wasn’t your typical defender really so he had that kind of finish in his locker.

“But it was just crazy really.

“One got sent off, then another and then another and it was definitely one of the most memorable wins of my career.

“The coach trip home was pretty memorable too!”

Chris’ memories: “I have so many memories from this game.

"It was my first with quite an eccentric Echo photographer driving and I remember him leaving Basildon without realising his cup of coffee and flapjack were still on the roof of the car!


Eventful afternoon - Mark Gower scored before being sent off

“It made quite a mess and remember we got lost too so I had to sprint to the stadium to get there in time.

“As for the game itself I was working in the press box which was right in the middle of the Swansea fans so when Mark Warren scored I actually crouched under the desk to quietly cheer!

“I can also remember getting some quotes from Ron Martin about the referee which the sports editor decided we couldn’t publish for legal reasons!”

The line-up: Flahavan, McSweeney, Cort, Hunt, Wilson, Gower, Maher, Smith, Kightly (Jenkins 23), Bramble (Broughton 67), Constantine (Warren 89) Subs not used: Emberson & Husbands