Leonard header seals 1-0 win
Ryan Leonard climbed off the bench to earn Blues back-to-back wins with a late headed winner against Oxford United at Roots Hall.
Leonard came on in the 81st minute and just five minutes later he was getting mobbed by his team mates after heading home from Michael Timlin’s looping cross.
Oxford had a great chance in the opening minute with Alfie Potter denied by the legs of Paul Smith from eight yards out before scuffing the rebound horribly wide of the goal after being played through by Sean Rigg with Southend caught sleeping at the back.
With very few chances from either team, Oxford nearly took the lead once again in the 19th minute direct from a corner after Adam Chapman’s deep delivery was cleared off the line by the head of Kevan Hurst.
Blues first real effort of the game came in the 32nd minute through Sean Clohessy’s right footed drive which flew inches wide of the post after the right back cut in before finding space.
Southend had another chance in the 37th minute after Hurst’s low drive 12 yards out was blocked excellently by Jake Wright sending the ball wide for a corner.
Oxford hit back on the break and Smith pulled off an excellent one handed save down low to his right denying Potter again after the midfielder had acres of space to give the away side the lead.
Neither side could find the breakthrough before half time and it was the home side that were the woodwork away from taking the lead after Michael Timlin’s cross from Hurst’s short corner was headed onto his own post by Damian Batt in the U’s defence.
Oxford replied instantly with a flowing move which found Rigg on the left whose left footed effort from an awkward angle could only find the side netting with some Oxford fans thinking the ball had found the back of the net.
Luke McCormick made his first save of the match in goal for Oxford denying Barry Corr after the striker got on the end of Britt Assombalonga’s header with a left footed volley which the keeper saved comfortably.
With 85 minutes gone Southend United took the lead through substitute Leonard’s looping header past the helpless McCormick.
Tenacious play by Corr gave Timlin the opportunity to deliver a deep cross into the box which was met superbly by Leonard, looping his header over the keeper’s head into the opposite corner of the goal.
Southend held onto victory after four minutes of injury time was added by the referee securing their second successive 1-0 victory.