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20 March 2021 Venue Sands Venue Stadium Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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English Football League - League Two

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Match Previews

BIG PREVIEW: SCUNTHORPE VS SOUTHEND

19 March 2021

Scunthorpe United vs Southend United...

Overview

Southend United are back on the road this weekend as they travel to take on Scunthorpe United at the Sands Venue Stadium in search of a vital and historic three points.

Blues have not won away at Scunthorpe since a 6-1 hammering of The Iron in 1983 and they have yet to taste victory at the ground better known as Glanford Park since the club moved in 1988.

There is always a first time for everything though and there’s no time like the present for Mark Molesley’s side who are in desperate need of a huge three points.

Form

Blues go into this weekend without a win in their last five with defeats against Cheltenham Town and Tranmere wedged between draws with Salford, Oldham and Stevenage.

Southend have made themselves a much tougher side to beat but have struggled in front of goal with their last goals coming in their last win against Forest Green a little under a month ago.

Scunthorpe have picked up the same points as Southend from their last six games but are without a win in four following draws against Salford, Leyton Orient and Oldham, and a defeat to Exeter.

Last League Meeting

Saturday 12th December 2020

Southend United 1-0 Scunthorpe United

Olayinka 80’

James Olayinka’s first goal at Roots Hall secured Blues a vital 1-0 win against Scunthorpe in front of 2,000 returning Southend United fans when the two sides last met in December.

In an even game, Olayinka popped up with 10 minutes remaining to convert a Jason Demetriou cross, firing low and hard passed Mark Howard to help Blues to their first home win of the season.

From The Boss

“We all know it’s a big week," said Mark Molesley. "We have to keep a level head, keep a clear head.

“There’s a lot of emotion around and rightly so as well, but we have to keep a clear head and execute what we need to execute.

“You can’t hide from the facts. We know where we are and what we need to do and we have to be fully focussed on doing that. Working hard, training hard to achieve that.

“They’ve [Scunthorpe] shown that they’ve got enough results to keep their nose out of trouble. All we can concentrate on is what we do. Whether it be Scunthorpe or Cheltenham, we need to win that football game. What everyone else does is irrelevant to us and out of our control.

“We’re fully focussed on winning this next football match and that is all that will take our attention.”

Blues Team News

Mark Oxley continues his rehabilitation from a groin injury but with uncertainty around whether he will declare himself fit to start, James Montgomery has continued to train with the squad this week. The emergency loanee has started the past four games, keeping two clean sheets.

James Olayinka isn’t likely to feature, despite getting through 45 minutes of a behind-closed-doors game in midweek. The winger has been out with ankle and groin injuries since January 16 against Grimsby Town.

Terrell Egbri is pushing for a recall after taking part in an U23s game last week and the behind-closed-doors game on Monday. The winger has been out since December with a hamstring problem.

Harry Lennon, Nile Ranger, Nathan Ralph and Lewis Gard are all long term absentees.

Scunthorpe Dangerman

The Iron’s leading marksman, Ryan Loft, is likely to be Scunthorpe’s biggest dangerman tomorrow afternoon with his goals and assists proving invaluable to Neil Cox’s side.

Loft has struck nine times this season, with five of those coming in his last nine games. He’s also chipped in with six assists which is twice as many as any other Iron player so far this season.

And even out of possession, his work-rate and endeavour have seen him earn praise from his and opposition managers alike, so he’ll be one to look out for tomorrow.

Ref Watch

Robert Lewis will be the man in the middle of tomorrow’s clash with Scunthorpe, being assisted by Barry Gordon and Alistair Nelson, with Darren Drysdale the fourth official.

Saturday will be Lewis’ 25th game of the campaign. In his previous 24, Lewis has shown 66 yellows and three reds, with his last game being the 0-0 draw between Grimsby and Tranmere.

The last time Lewis took charge of Blues was back in October 2018 when he oversaw a 3-0 defeat away at Sunderland, with his last visit to Scunthorpe coming in September 2019 against Bradford. 

iFollow Blues

With fans unable to attend matches in person, Blues fans can watch tomorrow’s clash with Scunthorpe United 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 the Sands Venue Stadium, click here.

Please note, due to current BBC guidelines relating to travel during the national lockdown, the BBC Essex commentary team will not be able to provide match commentary for the game. Instead, you will have a choice of listening to ambient stadium noise or you can switch to Scunthorpe’s commentary via the settings cog.

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Match Reports

MATCH REPORT: SCUNTHORPE 1-1 SOUTHEND

20 March 2021

Southend United were unable to hold onto what would have been a vital three points as Alfie Beestin equalised in the 90th minute for 10-man Scunthorpe United in a 1-1 draw at the Sands Venue Stadium.

The visitors had looked set for their first-ever win at the ground better known as Glanford Park when Ashley Nathaniel-George dispatched a penalty with 10 minutes remaining after Jordan Clarke had thrown Timothee Dieng to the ground in the box.

Clarke was sent off as a result with Blues just needing to hold out to pick up a first win at Scunthorpe in 38 years but Beestin managed to find just enough space in the Southend box to get a shot away which beat Mark Oxley and ensured the Scunthorpe hoodoo continued.

After the midweek results had conspired against Blues and left them five points adrift of safety in League Two, the pressure was on to pick up a vital three points on the road but history was not on Southend’s side having not won away at Scunthorpe since 1983.

In a bid for a first win at the Iron for almost four decades, Mark Molesley made just the one change as Mark Oxley returned between the sticks. At least that was the only change, initially, because Elvis Bwomono fell ill during the warm-up and was also replaced, this time by Ricky Holmes.

Neither side had been in particularly good form going into today, and it showed in the opening exchanges with a couple of speculative efforts from Ryan Loft and Kevin van Veen the best either side could muster in the opening quarter of an hour.

From that point on though and Southend began to threaten, and Reeco Hackett-Fairchild saw an effort from outside the box fly over before Simeon Akinola outmuscled Jai Rowe before playing in Holmes, but the winger wasn’t able to get in a clean strike on goal.

Loft went close with a header wide midway through the half, but it was Blues who ended the first 45 the stronger. After efforts from Akinola and Timothee Dieng had gone by the wayside, Holmes went close after a devilish cross from Nathan Ferguson in injury-time but he could only poke wide.

The visitors continued to press after the restart and forced Mark Howard into making his first save of the afternoon when Alan McCormack stung the palms of the goalkeeper with a shot from distance that needed tipping over the crossbar.

Mark Molesley then made a double switch on the hour mark with Ashley Nathaniel-George and Kyle Taylor coming on and the two combined well with the former teeing up the latter for a chance which Taylor blazed off target.

The hosts had been quiet in the second-half and manager Neil Cox decided to withdraw their top-scorer Loft and replace him with Abo Eisa, and the Iron number 11 almost made an immediate impact as his low shot from outside the box came back of the foot of the post.

It was a huge let-off for Blues who were then gifted a huge opportunity of their own to secure victory when they were awarded a penalty with 12 minutes remaining for an off the ball incident involving Dieng and Scunthorpe captain Jordan Clarke.

Clarke appeared to throw Dieng to the ground in the box which was spotted by referee Rob Lewis who pointed for the penalty. Clarke was shown a straight red card for his troubles and Nathaniel-George drilled the ball home from the spot with 10 minutes remaining.

The goal had put Blues on the cusp of a first-ever league win at Glanford Park but they couldn’t hold out against the 10-men of Scunthorpe who levelled in the 90th minute as the ball managed to bobble through to Alfie Beestin who calmly fired past Oxley to break Southend hearts.

Scunthorpe United XI: Howard, Clarke (C), Bedeau, Gilliead, Loft (Eisa 64’), van Veen (McAtee 71’), Brown, Green (Hippolyte 88’), Beestin, Karacan, Rowe (Howe 88’). Subs Not Used: Watson, Spence, O’Malley

Blues XI: Oxley, McCormack (K Taylor 61’), Hobson, Dieng, Akinola (Goodship 71’), Hackett-Fairchild (Mellis 82’), Demetriou, Holmes (Nathaniel-George 61’), Hart, Ferguson, White (C). Subs Not Used: Seaden, Cordner, Acquah

Referee: Rob Lewis

Assistants: Barry Gordon & Alistair Nelson

Fourth Official: Darren Drysdale

Scorers:

Scunthorpe United: Alfie Beestin 90’

Southend United: Ashley Nathaniel-George (p)80’

Yellow Cards:

Scunthorpe United: Jem Karacan 75’

Southend United: Timothee Dieng 68’

Red Cards:

Scunthorpe United: Jordan Clarke 78’

Southend United: None

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