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Northampton 3 Southend 3

25 August 2012

Ryan Cresswell bagged a last gasp equaliser to secure Southend United a dramatic 3-3 draw at Northampton Town this afternoon.

In a topsy, turvy second half Blues were twice in front yet still seemed to be heading for a fourth successive defeat until Cresswell’s late intervention.

The centre-back was pushed up front for the closing few minutes and fired home a close range volley to help Paul Sturrock side pick up their first point of the season.

In contrast to the action packed second half, the first 45 minutes was reasonably quiet.

However, with four minutes on the clock, the recalled Britt Assombalonga charged down the right wing before sending a low 18 yard shot wide of the left post.

The Cobblers hit back to soon almost open the scoring themselves when Chris Hackett worked his way past both Luke Prosser and David Martin down the right hand side before teeing up Alex Nicholls.

But the striker’s 12 yard shot was cleared off the goal-line for a corner by a well positioned Mark Phillips.

After that, came a lull in proceedings before Luke Prosser collected a 37th minute, left wing free kick from David Martin and dragged the ball wide of the right post from 12 yards.

With play soon switching down to the other end of the field, Ben Tozer then sent a 12 yard header straight at Cameron Belford and the Cobblers remained on top at the start of the second half.

The home-side forced a trio of corners in quick succession and the last of those, taken by Ben Harding, was headed into Belford’s grateful gloves from 10 yards.

After surviving the scares though, Blues hit back to open the scoring in the 57th minute when Assombalonga raced through on goal after a defensive mix up from the hosts.

The on loan Watford striker then kept his composure to send a right footed shot in to the bottom left hand corner of the net via the inside of the post for Southend’s first goal of the season.

Northampton boss Aidy Boothroyd reacted by bringing on Adebayo Akinfenwa and, within three minutes of his introduction, the powerful striker netted an equaliser after hooking a 12 yard shot in to the roof of the net with his left foot.

Blues almost went back in front when Cobblers keeper Lee Nicholls fumbled a high left wing cross from John Spicer and was the shot stopper was fortunate to see Phillips’ effort cleared off the goal-line by John Johnson.

Moments later, Southend went even closer to going back in front when substitute Kevan Hurst had a close range shot superbly saved by Nicholls before a sliding Assombalonga put the rebound past the left post from six yards.

However, Blues were not to be denied and they regained the lead in the 77th minute when Hurst’s low left wing cross was slid home at the near post by Kane Ferdinand.

The lead was to be short-lived though as Northampton equalised just seconds  later, with David Artell on target.

The centre-back reacted quickest after Belford had parried out a low, 25 yard free kick from Hackett and powered the ball in to the roof of the net from six yards.

And, with 86 minutes on the clock, things got even worse for Southend as Northampton made it 3-2 with Nicholls heading home a right wing cross from Hackett.

But Blues hit back to secure a point in the dying seconds as Cresswell volleyed home from six yards after his original effort had been blocked.

Southend: Belford, Clohessy, Phillips, Cresswell, Prosser, Leonard (Barker 88), Ferdinand, Spicer, Martin (Hurst 63), Tomlin, Assombalonga.

Subs not used: Smith, Straker, Harris, Benyon, Woodyard.

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