Report: Exeter City 0-2 Southend United
Southend United made it three wins in a row as they climbed into the play-off places in League 2 with a 2-0 win against Exeter City.
Cauley Woodrow opened the scoring in the 12th minute with his first goal in the Football League before Kevan Hurst’s volley doubled Blues’ advantage just before the half-hour mark.
Blues held firm in the second-half to ensure they picked up their third clean sheet in a row, and ninth of the season overall.
There was just one change from the 3-0 win at Morecambe in the FA Cup last Saturday as Barry Corr dropped to the bench.
The striker had been suffering from illness on Thursday and Friday, but was well enough to be named among the substitutes.
Woodrow replaced the 28-year-old in the starting line-up while Mark Phillips, back from his three game suspension, was on the bench.
After a lively start from Exeter, Woodrow made an immediate impact as he opened the scoring; his first league goal since joining Blues on loan.
Anthony Straker found John White out in space on the right and Blues’ skipper put in a teasing delivery that Woodrow prodded past Artur Krysiak.
That goal had clearly given Woodrow plenty of confidence, and he went close to making it 2-0 in the 20th minute. Michael Timlin looped the ball over the top of the defence for Woodrow who saw his volley tipped away for a corner by Krysiak.
Once again, just as the hosts began to grow into the game, Blues found the back of the net. Straker’s cross was headed only as far as Hurst and his volley, with the help of a deflection, beat Krysiak to make it 2-0.
Woodrow had the chance to make it 3-0 inside the opening ten minutes of the second-half, but his shot from Straker’s cut back was cleared off the line by Exeter captain Danny Coles.
Luke Prosser had to be alert defensively to make an important block from substitute John O’Flynn as Exeter went in search of a route back into the match.
Barry Corr came off the bench to replace Woodrow with just over 20 minutes remaining, and almost made it 3-0. Straker’s chipped ball to Corr at the back post, but Krysiak held the striker’s volley.
Mark Phillips came on late on to shore up the defence and help Blues make it nine wins in total this season, with every one of those coming with a clean sheet.
Blues: Bentley; White, Kiernan, Prosser, Coker; Leonard, Atkinson, Timlin; Hurst (Laird 77), Woodrow (Corr 67), Straker (Phillips 88).
Subs not used: Smith, Njie, Reid, Payne.