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26 December 2019 Venue Roots Hall Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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English Football League - League One

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Match Previews

Big Preview: Southend United vs MK Dons

26 December 2019

Southend United vs MK Dons...

Overview

Southend United welcome MK Dons to Roots Hall this Boxing Day with both sides looking for a late Christmas present to help boost their survival hopes.

Currently, both Blues and the Dons sit inside the relegation zone, however, today's visitors are 10 points better off than their hosts and sit just three points adrift of safety.

But Southend will be looking to draw upon their impressive Boxing Day record, which has seen them lose just once in their last 16 matches played on December 26th.

Form

Blues were unable to build on their draw against Rotherham the weekend before last, following that up with a controversial 3-2 defeat to Bolton Wanderers.

Defeat at Bolton extended Southend’s winless run to 13 matches with Sol Campbell’s side collecting just the two points from their last six league outings.

MK Dons come into Boxing Day off the back of a defeat to Gillingham last weekend with the Dons picking up only four points from the last 18 available.

Last Meeting

Saturday 21st September 2019

MK Dons 0-1 Southend United

Kelman 4’

Charlie Kelman’s early strike for Southend ensured the visitors picked up their first win of the League One campaign in a dogged 1-0 win at Stadium:MK.

The Blues youngster latched onto a loose ball inside the box to slot home what would be the winner in just the fourth minute with Southend able to hold on for a vital victory.  

Blues Team News

Harry Lennon is expected to miss the remainder of the League One season after breaking his leg in last weekend’s defeat to Bolton Wanderers.

Lennon’s absence adds to the growing list of left-sided options unavailable to Sol Campbell, joining the likes of Nathan Ralph who’s out long-term after shoulder surgery.

Tom Hopper has declared himself fit to start after returning from a nasty cut to his ankle to come off the bench last weekend, giving Campbell some food for thought regarding his attacking options.

MK Dons Danger Man

Joe Mason looks like being the man to watch out for on Boxing Day with the striker notching three times in his last five matches for the Dons, including the winner in a 1-0 victory over Oxford United.

Mason’s season took some time to get going after picking up an injury in pre-season which kept the 28-year-old out of action for over three months.

But since making his debut for the club in early November, the 28-year-old has breathed new life into the Dons who’ll be looking to him to provide the cutting edge upfront at Roots Hall.

Ref Watch

Neil Hair will be the one taking control of Blues’ festive fixture, being assisted by Anthony Da Costa and Ryan Whitaker, with Christopher O’Donn filling in as the fourth official.

This will be Hair’s second visit to Roots Hall this season having, funnily enough, taken charge of the League Cup tie between Southend and MK Dons back in August.

So far this campaign, Hair has officiated 15 matches, issuing 49 yellow cards and two reds, and last time out was in the middle of Wycombe’s 2-0 victory against Burton Albion.

Tickets

Tickets are available to purchase via the Southend United ticketing site, in person right up until kick-off from the Blues Box Office or over the phone.

You can find out more information about ticket availability and pricing by clicking here.

Follow the Box Office on twitter and they will also answer questions on specific matters.

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Match Reports

Match Report: Southend 2-2 MK Dons

26 December 2019

Southend United twice came from a goal down to record a 2-2 draw against MK Dons at Roots Hall with goals from Jason Demetriou and Rob Kiernan.

After a scrappy opening 10 minutes, Joe Mason would tap the visitors in front after getting on the end of a scuffed Conor McGrandles effort.

Blues responded with Stephen Humphrys winning a penalty, which Demetriou dispatched before Rhys Healey scored a scrappy second for the visitors just after the hour mark.

Sol Campbell’s side though responded in the best possible fashion by levelling again as Kiernan headed in Sam Mantom’s corner with both sides having chances to win it late on.

It was a second successive home 2-2 draw for Southend who’d recorded the same scoreline against Rotherham prior to Christmas, with the point not really helping either side’s fight for survival.

Both sides had exchanged away wins earlier in the season – MK Dons winning a Carabao Cup tie at Roots Hall before Blues won in the league at Stadium:MK, their only league win this season.

And, as expected for two sides inside the League One relegation zone, the opening exchanges were short of quality, which would have been an apt description of the Dons’ opener after 13th minutes.

Conor McGrandles’ scuffed effort somehow managed to dribble its way across the six-yard box where Joe Mason was happily standing for the simplest of tap ins.

The goal seemed to happen in slow motion and it took Southend a while to respond, but after Stephen Humphrys fizzed a shot over the crossbar things began to pick up for Blues.

After Humphrys’ effort, Elvis Bwomono then had a half-chance go begging when he sliced an effort wide before Humphrys would win Southend the chance to equalise by winning a penalty.

A long ball over the top allowed the Southend frontman to get in between the Dons defence and goalkeeper, with Humphrys nicking the ball before being taken out by goalkeeper Lee Nicholls.

Referee Neil Hair had no hesitation in pointing to the spot before Jason Demetriou calmly stepped up and sent Nicholls the wrong way to bring the two sides level.

Demetriou’s penalty sparked Southend into life and they finished the half the stronger of the two with a flurry of chances, with Humphrys finding himself at the centre of everything. 

The Blues striker forced Nicholls into two saves in quick succession, first with an instinctive strike on the turn which Nicholls held onto before a long-range effort took a deflection and was parried.

After going into the break on level terms, Southend had a huge opportunity presented to them to take the lead early in the second-half after a mistake by Dons ‘keeper Nicholls.

A shanked clearance from Nicholls went straight to the feet of Sam Mantom who worked his way into the box before finding Tom Hopper in acres of space only for the striker to somehow fire wide.

It was a superb chance that Hopper will be disappointed to have missed, but Southend kept their forward momentum going and created a number of further chances.

John White glanced a Mantom corner just wide before Mantom himself saw his header on goal blocked out only as far as Demetriou who rifled the rebound just wide on the half-volley.

Southend had been well on top since the interval, but they were caught out by a scruffy sucker-punch goal just after the hour mark as MK Dons retook the lead.

After a scramble inside the penalty box, Rhys Healey thought his effort had been saved from point-blank range by Mark Oxley only for the ball to squirm through and dribble into the back of the net.

Blues could rightly feel hard done by for going behind a second time, but their response was superb as they almost immediately levelled once again with Rob Kiernan nodding home.

After Nicholls had made a superb save to prevent Timothee Dieng from scoring, Mantom’s floated corner was met by the head of Kiernan who had the easiest of headed finishes to make it 2-2.  

For both sides in their fight for survival, the next goal in this one would prove vital towards the business end of the season and Southend had a glorious chance to steal it through Humphrys.

After getting goal side, Hopper cut back and picked out a cross which was just begging to be headed in. Humphrys reached the ball but only a fantastic save from Nicholls stopped it going in.

Having survived that scare, Dons’ Mason then had a great chance of his own go begging as he beat Oxley in a one-on-one before Dieng managed to just get back in time to clear off the line.

Both sides threw all that they could forward in search of a winner but neither were successful in their chase as the two sides were forced to settle for a point apiece.

Blues XI: Oxley, Bwomono, Milligan, Humphrys (Kelman 82’), Dieng (C), Hopper, McLaughlin, Kiernan, Mantom, Demetriou, White. Subs Not Used: Bishop, Cox, Goodship, Hamilton, Hutchinson, Kinali

MK Dons XI: Nicholls, Lewington (C), Walsh, Poole, Reeves (Kasumu 75’), Gilbey, McGrandles, Mason, Houghton, Brittain, Nombe (Healey 59’). Subs Not Used: Moore, Williams, Cargill, Agard, Boateng

Referee: Neil Hair

Assistants: Anthony Da Costa & Ryan Whitaker

Fourth Official: Chris O’Donnell

Scorers:

Southend United: Jason Demetriou (p)32’, Rob Kiernan 66’

MK Dons: Joe Mason 13’, Rhys Healey 64’

Yellow Cards:

Southend United: Timothee Dieng 41’, Sam Mantom 74’

MK Dons: Lee Nicholls 31’, Jordan Houghton 34’, Alex Gilbey 56’

Attendance: 6,189 (380 Away Fans)

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