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Posted Wed 17 Sep 14 at 13:35 PM

Cheltenham Town 0-1 Southend United

It's now back-to-back wins and clean sheets for Blues as Conor Clifford's second half strike proved the difference in a feisty battle against Cheltenham Town.

Clifford's effort just after half time nestled neatly in the bottom corner of the net after the ball broke to the Irishman 20 yards out and he fired home. 

The goal came after Cheltenham had been reduced to ten men in the first half following Jason Taylor's altercation with Clifford. 

The midfielder's goal proved decisive enough to make it two wins from the last two games ahead of a trip to York City on Saturday.

Phil Brown made one change to the starting XI that earned victory over Portsmouth on Saturday. The injured Barry Corr was out of the squad altogether, with Shaq Coulthirst starting following his excellent cameo off the bench just three days earlier. Youngster Jason Williams was named on the bench for the first time this season.

Blues began well but it was Cheltenham who had the best chance of the early moments with Dan Bentley saving superbly from a powerful strike by Jordan Wynter after 12 minutes.

After the half an hour mark the game livened up and after a combination of Adam Thompson and Bentley denied Omari Sterling-James after the winger wriggled free of John White, Blue sprung the counter attack excellently and Coulthirst saw his stinging drive beaten away by Carson.

There was concern for Blues moments later when Ryan Leonard went down with an injury and the midfielder had to be replaced by Conor Clifford.

The drama continued and after just two minutes of coming on, Clifford was involved in a scuffle on the ground with Jason Taylor. Taylor lashed out at the Blues man and the referee James Linington showed a straight red card.

With the man advantage, Blues had more space to work with and looked dangerous going into half time. Firstly, Coulthirst got on the end of Thompson's right wing cross to volley just past the post and moments later, Myles Weston cut in from the right but curled past the post.

Blues came out of the traps quickly for the start of the second half and a minute after half time Weston saw his powerful drive blocked by Coulthirst and the follow up effort from Payne was stopped by Carson. 

The deadlock was broken six minutes after the break when Clifford marked his return to action with a superb finish from outside the box.

The pressure was increasing and Blues were taking plenty of shots from long range with the likes of Hurst, Payne and Clifford again firing wide before Weston broke free from his man but his shot trickled wide of the left-hand post.

With 20 minutes remaining, Hurst hit a stunning effort from fully 30-yards which crashed against the crossbar and away from danger.

Late on, Weston got to the byline before his cross was hit over by a stretching Hurst at the back post as Blues saw the game out.

Blues: Bentley, White (c), Thompson, Prosser, Weston, Hurst, Coulthirst (Barnard, 75), Leonard (Clifford, 33), Payne (Atkinson, 84), Deegan, Binnom-Williams

Unused subs: Ibenfeldt, Worrall, P. Smith, Williams

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