Report: Blues 1-1 Bristol Rovers
Southend United picked up their second successive 1-1 draw as they were held by Bristol Rovers at Roots Hall on Friday night.
Matt Harrold scored against his former club for the fourth time in a row to give Rovers the lead just five minutes after the half-time break.
Kevan Hurst grabbed his second goal of the season in the 66th minute from 22-yards to draw Blues level.
Hurst, Ryan Leonard and Barry Corr all had chances late on, but Blues were made to settle for just a point.
Phil Brown made one enforced change from the draw at Bury, as Adam Thompson replaced the suspended Ben Coker. Thompson came in at right back, with John White moving to the left.
With Coker suspended, Blues were dealt another defensive blow in the 23rd minute when Mark Phillips had to be replaced. Jack Payne came on in his place with Anthony Straker going to left back, White to right back and Thompson centre back.
And Payne was immediately involved, playing a neat pass in to the feet of Freddy Eastwood, who saw his shot palmed over by former Blues goalkeeper Steve Mildenhall.
Leonard had two strikes from distance go well wide of Mildenhall’s goal as both sides kept their shape and discipline for much of the first-half.
Rovers’ best chance came five minutes before half-time as Oliver Norburn’s right wing cross caused Blues problems. White did just about enough to put Ryan Brunt off and Thompson managed to clear the danger.
On the stroke of half-time Blues were furious as Payne was fouled as he made his way into the area. The referee and linesman were unmoved however leaving fans, and boss Phil Brown, understandably angry.
Blues began the second half well, and twice created chances in the opening five minutes. First, Eastwood did well to tee up Leonard, but he saw his shot deflected behind for a corner.
From the resulting ball in from Hurst, Thompson could only head the ball into the ground and it bounced over the crossbar.
Despite the strong start to the second-half, Blues fell behind in the 51st minute. Against his former club, Harrold rose highest in the penalty area to head past Bentley from Michael Smith’s cross.
Blues took a little while to regain their rhythm but in the 66th minute, they drew level. Hurst turned onto his left after a good pass in to him from Leonard, and struck it beautifully from 22-yards, leaving Mildenhall with no chance.
Leonard and Corr both had chances for Blues as they searched for a second, while Bentley had to be alert to tip Lee Brown’s shot past the post.
Woodrow also went close for Blues with a curling left-footed strike, but it flew just over the bar.
That was to be the last real chance of the game, as Blues had to settle for their second 1-1 draw in a row.
Blues: Bentley; Thompson, Phillips (Payne 23), Prosser, White; Hurst, Atkinson, Leonard, Straker; Corr, Eastwood (Woodrow 54).
Subs not used: Smith, Timlin, Clifford, Reid, Banton.