Report: Fleetwood 1-1 Southend United
Southend United confirmed their place in the League 2 play-offs with a 1-1 draw at Fleetwood Town that dented the Cod Army’s automatic promotion hopes.
Depending on results next weekend on the final day of the season, these two sides could meet again in the play-offs to fight for a place at Wembley Stadium.
In this encounter, Steven Schumacher put the hosts ahead with a direct free-kick, but Barry Corr scored to level just a few minutes later to move equal with Kevan Hurst as Blues’ top scorer this season on 12 goals.
A point was all Blues needed to secure a play-off place, and that is what they got, but in the end, Oxford’s defeat to Accrington Stanley meant Blues’ win against James Beattie’s side last weekend was enough to seal that place.
Kevan Hurst, Jakub Sokolik and John Egan, doubts in midweek, were passed fit for the game, and so unsurprisingly Blues were unchanged from the win against Accrington Stanley.
The only change was on the bench, as Jamar Loza’s return to parent club Norwich City allowed Adam Thompson to be back involved.
Blues’ other Norwich City loanee started once again on the wing, and he had the first shot of the game, but fired wide from 25-yards after cutting in from the left.
Despite bright sunshine, there was a strong wind hurling around Highbury Stadium. Blues were playing with it in the first-half, and that was aiding Ryan Leonard’s long throws.
After causing problems with two, his third almost led to a goal as it found Barry Corr, but the striker’s header was well kept out by Chris Maxwell at his near post.
The opening goal came in the 36th minute, following the referee’s decision to penalise Sokolik for a foul on David Ball.
From the resulting free-kick, Schumacher curled the ball into the far corner after the ball evaded all of those in the penalty area.
But Blues’ response was immediate. Ben Coker’s corner was met by the head of Corr who thumped it past Maxwell for his fourth goal in five games.
Fleetwood began the second-half brightly, and twice Bentley was called into action to keep out Ball. First Blues’ goalkeeper palmed away his curling effort, before producing a similar save after the Cod Army had sliced Blues open.
Corr was now vying for the tag of top goalscorer, and he had the chance to do just that in the 73rd minute.
Good work from substitute Anthony Straker allowed Corr time in the box to shoot, but Maxwell made a smart stop to keep it out.
Moments later and Blues were screaming for a penalty that never came. Coker got in behind the defence and appeared to have been tripped by a defender.
The referee looked to his assistant for a decision, but one wasn’t forthcoming and he waved played on.
Both sides went all out in search of a winner, but in the end, it ended level to seal Blues' play-off spot.
Blues: Bentley; White, Sokolik, Egan, Coker; Atkinson, Timlin, Leonard; Hurst, Corr (Eastwood), Murphy (Straker).
Subs: Chambers, Prosser, Clifford, Barnard, Thompson