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Season Review: February

7 June 2013

Blues book place at Wembley in the most dramatic of cup ties at Roots Hall.

Blues began the month hosting Oxford United, themselves garnering hopes of a play-off place come May.

An even game between the two sides throughout, the deadlock was eventually broken by substitute, Ryan Leonard.  Leonard, who replaced Kevan Hurst after 81 minutes, netted just four minutes later, heading home a Michael Timlin cross.

It was a great start to a key month in the season for Blues.

Three days later and Blues were back in JPT action, travelling to east London to take on League 1 side Leyton Orient.

Again, one goal proved the difference and once more, it was that man Ryan Leonard that won the game for Paul Sturrock’s side.

Unfortunately for Blues, Michael Timlin saw his season end due to breaking his leg during the game.

The game saw Sturrock manage his 150th game for Blues as we held the advantage for the second leg at Roots Hall.

The 9th February saw the team head to Accrington Stanley.

A tight game saw a share of the spoils with Kevan Hurst’s rasping drive cancelling out James Gray’s opener for Stanley.

Ryan Cresswell was sent off mid-way through the second half, which makes Blues’ efforts of rescuing a point even more impressive.

A 19.45 kick off at Roots Hall three days later brought Mark Yates and his Cheltenham Town side to Essex. 

The game saw Danny Mayor make his Blues debut after joining on loan from Sheffield Wednesday hours earlier.

Marlon Pack gave the Robins an early lead from the penalty spot after a foul on Russell Penn in the box.

That lead was doubled on 38 minutes by self-confessed Blues supporter Paul Benson; the Southend-born frontman reacting quickest after a defensive mix up between Paul Smith and Mickey Spillane.

Loanee Ben Reeves scored for Blues in the 90th minute but it was too little too late as Blues slipped down to 9th place, their opponents, rising into the automatic promotion spots.

Blues had a chance to respond from that defeat a few days later when we faced Northampton Town.

However, things didn’t go according to plan when Roy O’Donovan hooked Ben Tozer’s long throw into the net after only 11 minutes.

The returning Bilel Mohsni, who had spent the last six months of the season at Ipswich Town, soured his Roots Hall comeback when he was sent off for a foul on Cobblers midfielder Chris Hackett.

Matthew Lund, making his Blues debut after joining on loan, equalised on 65 minutes with a header, his one and only goal for Southend.

Aidy Boothroyd’s side snatched a last gasp win at the death through Kelvin Langmead’s towering header.

A devastating blow for Blues as they sat four points off the final play-off place.

20th February 2012 will live long in the memory of every Blues fan, especially for the majority of the 9,421 crowd at Roots Hall who witnessed Blues draw 2-2 with Leyton Orient to book a place at Wembley.

Shaun Batt’s eighth minute goal soon cancelled out Blues’ one goal advantage from the first leg, tapping in a Dean Cox cross.

Barry Corr bagged his 9th of the campaign with a fantastic half volley as Blues dared to dream of a Wembley final for the first time in their history.

However, 10 minutes later and Orient levelled on aggregate again, this time, David Mooney headed in to the net.

With little time remaining, Ben Reeves wrote his name in Southend United folklore when he turned in a low Kevan Hurst cross to send Roots Hall wild and a pitch invasion at the final whistle ensued. Blues were heading to Wembley!

Before thoughts turned to Wembley, we had a host of games to contend with, the first being a visit to Adams Park to take on Wycombe Wanderers.

An early goal gave Blues a mountain to climb; ex loanee Dean Morgan, who failed to score in eight Blues appearances during the 2007/08 season, finished off a neat move.

Blues showed their character though; equalising through Barry Corr, the Ulsterman heading in a corner from Kevan Hurst on 53 minutes.

Blues never gave up searching for a winning goal and got their reward when Britt Assombalonga beat a number of Wycombe players before rounding off a fine solo run, putting the ball past Jordan Archer in the Chairboys’ goal.

Another great win for Blues as they kept the pressure on the play-off pack, two points off the top seven at this stage.

Blues had an opportunity to build on this result when we travelled the short distance to face relegation candidates, Barnet, in the final game of February.

Jake Hyde gave the Bees a 33rd minute lead, the midfielder’s 10th goal of the season.

Blues looked to respond, Britt Assombalonga twice going close, and Kevan Hurst also hitting wide before a recognisable face in football put the game out of reach for Blues.

Former Inter Milan, Juventus and Barcelona man, Edgar Davids, added a second with just six minutes remaining, poking past Paul Smith, Blues dropping a place to 9th.

February Results:

2nd Feb: Blues 1-0 Oxford United (Leonard)
5th Feb (JPT): Leyton Orient 0-1 Blues (Leonard)
9th Feb: Accrington Stanley 1-1 Blues (Hurst)
12th Feb: Blues 1-2 Cheltenham Town (Reeves)
16th Feb: Blues 1-2 Northampton Town (Lund)
20th Feb (JPT): Blues 2-2 Leyton Orient (Corr, Reeves)
23rd Feb: Wycombe Wanderers 1-2 Blues (Corr, Assombalonga)
26th Feb: Blues 0-2 Barnet

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