REPORT: Blues 2-0 Northampton Town
Southend United made it three wins from three in League 2 as they dispatched ten-man Northampton Town at Roots Hall on Saturday.
After Daniel Bentley saved Roy O’Donovan’s early penalty and Chris Hackett had been sent off for two bookable offences, Anthony Straker scores his first ever goal for Blues to give Phil Brown’s side a slender half-time lead.
Freddy Eastwood then got his second in as many games as he latched on to John White’s pass and fired beyond Matt Duke in the Northampton goal.
The win made it three wins and three clean sheets from Blues’ opening three league games of the season.
There was only one change for Blues from the win at Hartlepool United as Adam Thompson replaced the injured Mark Phillips. Barry Corr started after his ban was overturned on Tuesday while Kevan Hurst was back among the substitutes.
Blues has kept clean sheets in their opening two league games, but Northampton had the chance to open the scoring in the seventh minute from the penalty spot.
Will Atkinson fouled Joe Widdowson just inside the area but Bentley pulled off a terrific stop to his left to save from O’Donovan.
It was a lively start as both sides had men go in the referee’s book inside the opening 15 minutes. Widdowson and Chris Hackett both picked up cards for the visitors, while White was booked for Blues.
It was long before the visitors were reduced to ten men. Hackett slid in on Straker and the referee didn’t hesitate in producing a second yellow card for the midfielder with 22 minutes gone.
Despite the man disadvantage, Northampton almost went ahead in the 23rd minute. Darren Carter’s free-kick was headed towards goal by Ben Tozer, but White produced an excellent clearance on the line to keep it out.
Blues hadn’t managed to break down Northampton’s resolute defence since the red card, but made the break through in the 37th minute.
Freddy Eastwood’s shot was deflected up into the path of Straker who headed the ball beyond the advancing Matt Duke to score his first ever goal for Southend United.
Blues began the second-half on the front foot and almost made it 2-0 in the 54th minute. White’s cross found Corr but he couldn’t direct his header downwards.
Blues were forced into a change just before the hour mark as Conor Clifford replaced the injured Marc Laird.
That change didn’t have an real impact as White played in Eastwood with a clever through ball and the striker fired beyond Duke with a crisp, low drive.
White then thought he had won Blues a penalty when we tangled with Widdowson, but the referee was unmoved.
Duke then denied Atkinson and Corr in a matter of minutes to keep it 2-0 before Eastwood fired wide after good work from Atkinson.
Northampton went in search of a consolation but Blues remained strong at the back and made it three wins and three clean sheets from their opening three League 2 games.
Blues: Bentley; White, Thompson, Prosser, Coker; Atkinson, Leonard (Payne 90), Laird (Clifford 60), Straker; Eastwood (Reid 82), Corr.
Subs not used: Timlin, Smith, Cowan, Hurst.