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17 April 2021 Venue St James Park Attendance

Kick off 12:30 (UK)

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English Football League - League Two

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Match Previews

BIG PREVIEW: EXETER VS SOUTHEND

16 April 2021

Exeter City vs Southend United...

Overview

Southend United head down to Devon tomorrow afternoon to face off against Exeter City at St. James Park hoping to evoke memories of their last visit there from 2015 (12.30pm Kick-Off).

On that sunny April afternoon close to exactly six years ago, Michael Timlin scored a dramatic winner in stoppage time to earn Blues a vital victory in their race for promotion.  

And arguably the points on offer tomorrow are even more important to both sides involved with Southend looking to close the gap to safety while Exeter continue their play-off push.

Form

Last weekend, Phil Brown’s first game of his second spell as Blues boss ended in a goalless draw against Crawley which was Southend’s fourth draw in their last six matches.

Blues have picked up one win from their last six, a 1-0 victory away at Harrogate, with their only defeat during that run coming at the hands of Carlisle United.

Exeter have won two, drawn one and lost three of their last six outings, with the Grecian’s coming into the weekend off the back of a 2-1 defeat to Barrow in midweek.  

Last League Meeting

Saturday 10th October 2020

Southend United 2-2 Exeter City

Goodship 26’, Demetriou (p)65’; Randall 40’; Fisher 90’

Blues were denied their first win of the season in the final seconds at Roots Hall as Alex Fisher’s 95th-minute equaliser stole a point for the visitors in the two side’s last meeting in October.

Southend went into stoppage time 2-1 up thanks to a Jason Demetriou penalty only for Fisher to curl the ball into the top corner with the last kick of the game to rescue a draw.

From The Boss

“I’ve got a new group of players with only four or five that have worked with me before and I want them to go to war with Exeter on Saturday in a similar fashion to the way Barrow did. I think Barrow addressed a game of football on Tuesday night like it was last chance saloon. Like it was the end of their careers if they lost the game.

“We’ve got to address the game in the same way. I know Exeter try to play football and they did in the opening exchanges at Barrow, but then they got swamped by an absolute deluge of channel balls, of high balls into the penalty box, of physical activity, appealing for everything. All of the things that gets you results in the second division. They were swamped by it.

“We have to have a little bit more of that on Saturday, coupled with a little bit more quality.”

Blues Team News

Timothee Dieng will miss out tomorrow after the midfielder limped off during last weekend’s draw with Crawley with a hamstring injury that is expected to keep him out for up to two weeks.

The Blues boss though has been buoyed by the return of experienced duo John White (elbow) and Alan McCormack (calf) to training, though he was unsure if they’d be fit to feature on Saturday.

Simeon Akinola will be pushing for a recall after missing last weekend, but he’s been training this week and Brown has been impressed with what he’s seen from the striker.

Exeter Dangerman

It would be remiss of us not to single out Matt Jay as Exeter’s dangerman this weekend with the midfielder the Grecian’s leading scorer with 19 goals this season.

Jay had a fantastic start to the campaign, but after a quiet spell at the turn of the year, he returned to form with five goals in March earning him the League Two player of the month award.  

His five goals included a first-ever senior hat-trick against Leyton Orient, a sublime free-kick against Scunthorpe and the winner against Salford, marking him out as the one to watch tomorrow.

Ref Watch

Tomorrow’s visit to Exeter will be officiated by Darren Drysdale, who’ll be assisted by Christopher Husband and Daniel Flynn, with Brett Huxtable the fourth official.

Drysdale has refereed 23 games so far this season, in which he has shown 62 yellow cards and two reds, and his last outing was the goalless draw between Crewe and Portsmouth in League One.

The Lincolnshire official will be making his first visit to St. James Park since October 2019, while his last Blues game was a defeat for Southend at Doncaster Rovers in January 2020.

iFollow Blues

With fans unable to attend matches in person, Blues fans can watch tomorrow’s clash with Exeter by picking up a Match Pass for iFollow Blues for £10.

Overseas supporters can pick up a pass for just £7 with the pass allowing you to catch the game on your laptop, computer, tablet or mobile device.

For more information on how you can get your Match Pass for iFollow Blues and ensure you miss none of the action at St. James Park, click here.    

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Match Reports

MATCH REPORT: EXETER 0-0 SOUTHEND

17 April 2021

Southend United and Exeter City were made to settle for a point apiece at St. James Park as Blues drew 0-0 against the Grecians.

Both sides hit the woodwork with Reeco Hackett-Fairchild seeing his deflected effort smack the crossbar in the first-half before sub Nigel Atangana smashed the ball against the post in second-half stoppage time after a superb save from Mark Oxley.

The draw narrowed the gap to Colchester United to three points ahead of The U’s game with Walsall this afternoon, with only four games remaining between now and the end of the season.

Tomorrow will have marked six years since Blues’ last visit to the St. James Park, a memorable afternoon in 2015 which ended with Michael Timlin’s injury-time winner securing Southend a vital win in their race for promotion.

Phil Brown was the manager that day and he was hoping his present-day side could replicate that vital win with another much-needed victory this afternoon with the Southend boss making four changes to the line-up that drew 0-0 with Crawley last weekend.

Originally it was just the three changes, as John White, Simeon Akinola and Louis Walsh – making his first Southend start – came in, before Tom Clifford got injured in the warm-up and was replaced by Sam Hart to round off the changes.

It was a game both teams needed to win for differing reasons with Exeter fighting for a place in the play-offs, but it was a scrappy affair in the early going down in Devon though the home side did have the best of the few early chances with Ryan Bowman and Alex Hartridge going close.

Southend’s struggles in front of goal have been well documented, but they were desperately unlucky not to open the scoring just before the half-hour mark when a mazy run from Reeco Hackett-Fairchild ended with his shot being deflected onto the face of the crossbar.

Things began to open as the half played out and Exeter went close when Jake Taylor’s looping header needed clearing off the line by Elvis Bwomono. From the follow-up, Jack Sparkes stung the palms of Mark Oxley from a tight angle.

And in first-half stoppage time, Southend had a glorious chance from a corner when Ricky Holmes’ set-piece dropped inside the six-yard box. Shaun Hobson swung a leg at it and completely missed the ball when any sort of contact would have likely resulted in a goal.

Blues didn’t let that missed chance phase them though as they went close within 45 seconds of the restart when Hart’s free-kick to the far post picked out Nathan Ferguson whose header across goal went narrowly wide.

The visitors continued to show their attacking intent with Jason Demetriou fizzing a shot at Jokull Andresson that he was unable to hold onto, and the Grecians stopper was needed again to keep out Akinola’s flicked header which he tipped wide.

Having weathered the Southend storm, Exeter began to turn the tables and created a couple of good openings of their own with Bowman heading a Matt Jay cross over before a cross from the left bounced around inside the area only for Hartridge’s effort to be deflected wide.

Both sides threw everything they could forward to try and find a winner in the closing stages with Oxley needing to be at his best to keep out substitute Nigel Atangana who’d snuck in at the far post and saw his shot tipped onto the post and over by Oxley.

There was still time for Southend to carve out a late chance too when James Olayinka broke into the box and forced a smart save from Andresson in a frenetic stoppage time but neither side were able to break the deadlock as Blues picked up another 0-0 draw.

Exeter City XI: Andresson, Caprice, Sparkes (Sweeney 87’), McArdle, Taylor (C) (Atangana 87’), Collins, Williams (Key 75’), Bowman, Jay (Seymour 87’), Page (Willmott 55’), Hartridge. Subs Not Used: Maxted, Parkes

Blues XI: Oxley, Bwomono, Hobson, Akinola (Goodship 72’), Hackett-Fairchild, Demetriou, Holmes (Olayinka 76’), Walsh (McCormack 89’), Hart, Ferguson, White (C). Subs Not Used: Seaden, Cordner, Halford, Egbri

Referee: Darren Drysdale

Assistants: Christopher Husband & Daniel Flynn

Fourth Official: Brett Huxtable

Scorers:

Exeter City: None

Southend United: None

Yellow Cards:

Exeter City: Lewis Page 45’

Southend United: Louis Walsh 38’

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