Report: Blues into FA Cup third round
Southend United will be in the hat for the third round of the FA Cup after a fantastic 3-1 win away to Chesterfield.
Blues will be ball number 52 in the hat after a terrific away performance that saw them extend their unbeaten run to seven games.
A place above Blues in League 2 going into the game, it was Chesterfield who opened the scoring as Tendayi Darikwa tapped home inside the opening three minutes.
But Blues are full of confidence at the present time, and made light work of reversing the scoreline.
Marc Laird made it 1-1 with his first goal since November 2012 as he glanced home a header, before Anthony Straker grabbed his third FA Cup goal of the season to make it 2-1 inside the opening 16 minutes.
Barry Corr missed a second-half penalty that would have surely have wrapped things up for Blues but Kevan Hurst did just that in the 85th minute after terrific work from Straker.
Blues boss Phil Brown made just one change from the side that drew 1-1 with Cheltenham Town last weekend – and that was enforced – as Will Atkinson missed out through suspension. Conor Clifford got the nod ahead of Adam Thompson and Jack Payne.
Within the opening two minutes, Blues had a good chance to take the lead. Hurst’s deep cross was headed back across goal by Anthony Straker to Barry Corr, who couldn’t get enough conviction in his header.
But the hosts, with their first attack of the game, took the lead in the third minute. Gary Roberts’ low cross to the back post found Darikwa, who beat Ben Coker to the ball to slide home.
It was a high-tempo start, and in the tenth minute Blues were level. Coker’s corner to the near post was met by Laird who glanced a header past Tommy Lee.
Roberts, who had cause Blues problems in both games with Chesterfield so far this season, then limped off after blocking a cross from Corr.
It then got worse for the hosts as Blues turned their tie in their favour. Hurst’s cross to the back post found Straker, who out jumped his man before powering a header past Lee.
Hurst has been in the goals of late, but it was his crossing ability that was causing Chesterfield problems. His excellent ball found Corr, but the striker couldn’t get a shot off before a defender came across to challenge.
The hosts made a positive start to the second half and went within inches of leveling. Jay O’Shea’s corner found Drew Talbot, but the defender’s header hit the crossbar.
Blues were defending their lead well, but Ollie Banks almost levelled with a solo goal however his thunderous strike from the edge of the box went just wide of Daniel Bentley’s goal.
Southend had rarely threatened in the second half but had the chance to make it 3-1 from the penalty spot after Corr was fouled.
The striker stepped up himself but Lee made a good save down to his left to keep out Corr’s spot-kick to ensure a nervy final 15 minutes for Blues.
Those nerves were settled when Hurst made it 3-1. The goal was largely down to the terrific work of Straker, who beat three men before finding Laird.
Laird played in Hurst who grabbed his seventh goal of the season with a finely struck left footed strike.
With the nerves settled, Blues saw out six minutes injury time to seal their spot in round three of the FA Cup with Budweiser.
Blues: Bentley; White, Kiernan (62), Prosser, Coker; Timlin, Laird, Clifford (Thompson 82); Hurst, Corr, Straker.
Subs not used: Payne, Smith, Eastwood, Edwards, Reid