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09 December 2017 Venue The Memorial Stadium Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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English Football League - League One

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Brown: "It’s one of the biggest games of the season"

8 December 2017

Phil Brown says Saturday’s game away at Bristol Rovers is a ‘must win’ for his Southend side.

Blues face a tough December schedule with four of the top six to come following the game at the Memorial Stadium this weekend.

And Brown is aware of the importance a win this weekend ahead of a tricky set of games coming up.

“It’s one of the biggest games of the season, a must win game for it to kick-start our season,” said Brown.

“I know I said more or less the same last week ahead of the Oldham game and we got the response that was required, but I was disappointed on Wednesday that the squad, the players on the periphery, the ones knocking on my door saying they should be playing; I was disappointed in the performances of some of them.

“Having said that, put our strongest XI out against anyone in this division and we will give them a game.”

On the road, Blues have won twice all season whereas at Roots Hall they are unbeaten.

And Brown is confident that the away struggles will soon turn around.

“It’s only a matter of time before that turns as far as I’m concerned,” he added.

“We had a horrendous start to last season with our away form, horrendous afternoons at places like Northampton, Scunthorpe, Rochdale, and we were on the end of drubbings, bad performances and were waiting for our big players to come out the treatment room.

“I think Michael Turner is going to be a big player for us this year. He is a colossus in defence and on the field of play, but we have to man-manage him.

“He will be a key figure in our defence in keeping clean sheets and is one of the main reasons I’m confident going to Bristol Rovers, regardless of our away form.

“I know we’re in promotion form at Roots Hall with 20 points from 10 games, but away from home we have to arrest that situation which starts on Saturday, as simple as that.”

Rovers themselves are in a sticky patch, however they triumphed 2-1 against Rotherham last time out.

“We’re going into a game where I want all hands to the pump. It’s one of the biggest games of the season for me and it was a turning point for us last year with a 2-0 defeat, and it can be a turning point for us this year with a victory.

“It’s a difficult place to go to, it always is. Darrell [Clarke] has got his team organised, we know what system they play and roughly what personnel he will be playing.

“There will be seven-and-a-half, probably eight thousand crowd and they always get behind their team. It’s a hostile atmosphere, but they haven’t been having a good time of it of late. They’ve had one win in their last seven games.

“As far as I’m concerned as a Manager, I’m coming up against one of the up and coming talents in the English game who gets his teams organised and playing good football.”

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Match Reports

Match Report: Bristol Rovers 3-0 Southend

9 December 2017

Southend United left the Memorial Stadium empty handed as Bristol Rovers beat Blues 3-0 thanks to goals from Billy Bodin, Ellis Harrison and Liam Sercombe.

It was a third time in succession that Southend had failed to score at the Memorial Stadium and it was a familiar face in Bodin that opened the scoring after 15 minutes, smashing in from close range.

Bodin had scored after a minute last time these two sides met and it looked like Rovers may match the 2-0 scoreline from March when Ellis Harrison scored midway through the second half.

Liam Sercombe though put an end to that score-line happening again when he wrapped up the three points for Rovers with their third, scoring from Rory Gaffney’s rebound.

Southend failed to have a single shot on target the entire game, compared to Rovers’ 11 from 23 attempts, the sum up a truly awful afternoon for Phil Brown’s side.

With Southend’s next four games all against sides inside the top six, today was a key game for Blues which Brown had described as “one of the biggest games of the season.”

Brown made just the one change from the side that beat Oldham Athletic last weekend with Anthony Wordsworth coming in for the injury Michael Kightly.

When these two sides last met in March, Billy Bodin put Rovers in front after less than a minute on their way to a 2-0 win over Phil Brown’s side.

This time around, Rovers didn’t breakthrough as quickly but it was the same player who broke the deadlock, as Bodin – Rovers’ joint-top goal scorer – powered Bristol in front after 15 minutes.

A long-throw from Rory Gaffney was headed down by Michael Turner, with Bodin nicking the ball off the toes of Ryan Leonard before smashing it low and hard past Oxley for the game’s opener.

Blues responded well to going behind and arguably should have been level within five minutes when Josh Wright was found unmarked in the penalty box only to screw his shot wide.

Both sides had chances to score before the break with Oxley being forced into action with a superb reaction save from Ellis Harrison who headed Dan Leadbitter’s cross on target.

Up the other end and Leonard found some space on the right to send a low cross into the area which skipped up sharply on Jermaine McGlashan who, from close range, couldn’t get contact on the ball.

Southend went close again before the break when McGlashan whipped in a cross to the far-post which Anthony Wordsworth was unable to bundle over the line under pressure from Adam Smith.

Rovers looked the more likely to score early in the second half with Harrison testing the palms of Oxley with a low drive from outside the area which was easily held by the Blues ‘keeper.

Oxley was needed again just past the hour mark when Lee Brown’s free-kick was pushed away by the Southend number one before Bodin’s follow-up strike went narrowly wide.

Blues had failed to score in their previous two visits to the Memorial Stadium and it looked like they may miss out for a third time as Rovers kept the pressure on the visitors.

Nile Ranger was brought on to try and boost Southend’s fire-power up-front but he ended up intervening in his own area when he cleared Joe Partington’s goal-bound header off the line.

From the resulting corner, Rovers’ captain Tom Lockyer blasted a shot which flew across the face of goal, deflecting on the foot of the post before Southend frantically cleared.

Amadou Ba was brought on for Josh Wright, meaning a change of shape for Blues, but the change mattered little as seconds after Ba came on Rovers had doubled their lead.

Rovers broke away down the left before playing the ball across the edge of the area towards Harrison who beat Oxley with a low strike that went in off the inside of the post.

The goal was just rewards for Rovers who had been the better side throughout the second-half, with Southend now facing an uphill battle to salvage anything from Bristol with quarter of an hour to go.

Harrison though could have put any chance of a Blues comeback to bed when a flowing Rovers move found him in the area only for his header to be parried away by Oxley.

Rovers would end the game by scoring a third when Gaffney’s low strike was parried into the path of Liam Sercombe who beat Oxley at the second attempt to finish off a miserable afternoon for Blues.  

Bristol Rovers XI: Smith, Leadbitter, Brown, Lockyer (C), Sweeney, Sercombe, Harrison (Nichols 89’), Bodin (Clarke 87’), Partington (Lines 90+1’), Sinclair, Gaffney. Subs Not Used: Slocombe, Broadbent, Telford, Bola

Blues XI: Oxley, Hendrie, Wordsworth, Ferdinand (C), Turner, Fortune (Ranger 59’), Cox, McLaughlin (McGlashan 13’), Leonard, Demetriou, Wright (Ba 73’). Subs Not Used: Bishop, Timlin, Yearwood, White

Referee: Tom Nield

Assistants: Mark Griffiths & Ronald Ganfield

Fourth Official: Marvyn Amphlett

Scorers:

Bristol Rovers: Billy Bodin 15’, Ellis Harrison 75’, Liam Sercombe 86’

Southend United: None

Yellow Cards:

Bristol Rovers: None

Southend United: Michael Turner 44’

Attendance: 8,062

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Ticket News

Bristol Rovers Tickets Coming Off Sale At 3pm Friday

8 December 2017

Tickets for Blues' game against Bristol Rovers will come off sale at 3pm today...

We have sold 201 seated tickets which leaves just 78 left and have sold 103 standing tickets (with a maximum allocation of 1000 available).

There is a £2 price increase when purchasing tickets on the day and it is cash only on the turnstiles.

Any collections will be available from the away end.

Prices for the fixture are as follows;

Away South Stand Seating

Adults - £19.00

16-21 - £15.00

65+/Under 16’s - £10.00

Away Visitor Terrace tickets

Adults - £16.00

16-21 - £12.00

65+/Under 16 - £8.00

Wheelchair tickets are available from the Ticket Office on 08444 770077, in person or via email on tickets@southend-united.co.uk.

Tickets are priced at:

Adults, 65+ and 16-21 year-olds - £9.00

Under 16s - £8.00 - with a carer ticket free of charge.

Ambulant disabled tickets are available from the Ticket Office on 08444 770077, in person or via email on tickets@southend-united.co.uk

Tickets are priced at:

Adults - £11.00

65+ - £10.00

16-21 - £10.00

Under 16s - £8.00 - with a carer ticket free of charge.

These tickets are situated in the front of the Away South Stand and are uncovered.

For Bristol travel information click here.

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