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Season Review: March

10 June 2013

A new manager arrived in March as Blues dropped off the pace in League 2.

Blues headed into the month of March knowing that their destiny was in their own hands with six games during this period.

First up was a home game against Rotherham United, the Millers themselves were a team who were taking up one of the four play-off places above Blues.

That day saw a potential “Goal of the Season” contender when Kevan Hurst unleashed a stunning long range effort to give Blues the lead with little over 15 minutes remaining.

However, Blues squandered the chance to pick up a valuable three points when Johnny Mullins bundled the ball into the net for Steve Evans’ side, with only a couple of minutes remaining in the game.

A week later and a trip to the Potteries to face promotion contenders, Port Vale.

Paul Sturrock missed the game through illness as Blues scored twice in the opening 45 minutes to set them on their way to a vital victory.

Sean Clohessy netted a penalty after 19 minutes after Matthew Lund was brought down by the experienced Darren Purse.

Just after half an hour and it was 2-0 when Britt Assombalonga turned Purse before firing past Chris Neal.

Vale did find the net on 64 minutes through loanee Lee Hughes but Blues held firm to take the points home.

A midweek fixture against AFC Wimbledon had fans hoping for a repeat performance from when the two sides last met; a 4-0 Blues win.

However, this was not the case, despite Sean Clohessy scoring another penalty, his second in the space of a week.

The Wombles hit back three minutes later through Dutch defender Pim Balkestein, heading in a corner.

Minutes after the restart and the Dons had the lead, another high ball was nodded in by former Blues loanee Jack Midson. The striker scored twice in four games during a spell at Roots Hall in 2010.

Luke Moore added a third goal just two minutes after entering the match, scoring an effort from outside the 18 yard box with his first touch. Blues could find no way back as their poor home form continued.

The next game saw Blues play Torquay United at Roots Hall.

Freddy Eastwood’s fourth goal of the campaign gave Blues the early lead against the Gulls, the striker cutting in before drilling past ‘keeper, Michael Poke.

Joss Labadie, on loan from Notts County, was allowed to nip in and tap home from a couple of yards after a cross wasn’t cleared as Alan Knill’s men equalised on the stroke of half time.

Blues were kept at bay by Poke as he saved from Kevan Hurst and Ben Reeves as Torquay headed back with a point.

We welcomed fellow Devon side Plymouth Argyle just three days later in what was to be Paul Sturrock’s final game in charge of Southend United.

A first half that saw no goals came and went before Paul Wotton blasted in a penalty after Bilel Mohsni felled Joe Bryan in the box.

With 15 minutes remaining, Reuban Reid, on loan from Yeovil Town, scored from a tight angle past goalkeeper, Daniel Bentley.

Paul Sturrock departed on March 25th, and Phil Brown was named as his replacement the following day.

Brown took over the reigns for Blues for the trip to Yorkshire to face a high-flying Bradford City side.

Blues got off to a flyer, Gavin Tomlin and Britt Assombalong both scoring within a minute of each other in the 10th and 11th minute respectively.

Tomlin tapped in after a Bilel Mohsni shot rebounded off a post before Assombalonga coolly slotted in a moment later.

Former West Ham prodigy Zavon Hines reduced the arrears in the 53rd minute as the Bantams pushed for an equaliser.

That second goal eventually arrived seven minutes from full time when James Hanson headed a Nakhi Wells cross past Paul Smith.

That result saw Blues end the month ninth place, seven points adrift from Exeter City, who were occupying the final play-off space.

March Results:

2nd Mar: Blues 1-1 Rotherham United (Hurst)
9th Mar: Port Vale 1-2 Blues (Clohessy pen, Assombalonga)
12th Mar: Blues 1-3 AFC Wimbledon (Clohessy pen)
16th Mar: Blues 1-1 Torquay United (Eastwood)
19th Mar: Blues 0- 2 Plymouth Argyle
29th Mar: Bradford City 2-2 Blues (Tomlin, Assombalonga)

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