Southend United 3-0 Chesterfield
By Rhys Ellingham
Blues will spend Christmas unbeaten in 13 matches in all competitions after a terrific second-half display sealed a 3-0 win against Chesterfield at Roots Hall.
After a goalless first half, the home side burst into life with three goals in 20 second half minutes through Ryan Cresswell and a double from Gavin Tomlin.
Blues had the first chance of the match in the second minute with Kevan Hurst’s right footed effort hitting the side netting after Marc Laird’s deflected strike fell into his path.
Southend continued to press with Sean Clohessy’s superb right wing cross just out of reach for the on rushing Tomlin in the six yard box.
The home side continued to create chances with Michael Timlin next to come close, seeing his sliding effort cleared off the line by Sam Togwell with Tommy Lee rooted.
Blues were denied by another clearance off the line in the 23rd minute after Tomlin’s chipped cross was knocked into the path of Laird by Chris Barker at the back post before
Sam Hird somehow scrambled the ball to safety for Chesterfield.
The Spireites had a great chance to take the lead after Luis Boa Morte found himself space in a dangerous area before somehow falling over his own feet.
With half time approaching it was Southend on the front foot with Britt Assombalonga’s attempted cross nearly sneaking in the top corner with Lee sprawling across his goal.
Chesterfield had the first chance of the second half with Tendayi Darikwa’s shot from 20 yards dipping right in front of Paul Smith, with the keeper just managing to tip it wide for a corner.
Blues hit back immediately and took the lead through Cresswell’s eighth goal of the season from 10 yards.
Laird saw his effort cleared off the line by Togwell after excellent play by Timlin on the left before the ball fell to the goal scoring centre back, who emphatically volleyed the ball home.
Southend doubled their lead in the 60th minute through Tomlin’s superbly placed header after a smart interchange between him and Hurst.
Tomlin picked the ball up just inside the Chesterfield half before squaring the ball to Hurst and the midfielder’s pinpoint cross found the inform striker who headed in his 11th goal of the season.
The Spireites were nearly gifted a way back into the game after Smith scuffed his clearance straight into the path of Jay O’Shea who improvised well, overhead kicking the ball inches wide of the empty net from the edge of the area.
Blues increased their lead to three in the 70th minute through Tomlin after another well worked goal by the home side.
Chris Barker played a superb chipped pass towards the striker who managed to get to the ball first with the on rushing Lee in goal bearing down on him and head the ball into an empty net.
Nathan Smith somehow stopped Freddy Eastwood from scoring after only being on the pitch for a matter of minutes, with the defender clearing the ball off the line from Eastwood’s scrambled six yard effort.
Southend secured all three points at the start of the busy Christmas period with Dagenham & Redbridge up next on Boxing Day.