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Match Report: Southend United 0-0 Burton Albion

20 December 2014

Frustrating draw at Roots Hall for Blues against second placed Burton Albion in Sky Bet League Two.

Southend United played out a goalless draw with third placed Burton Albion on a Friday night under the lights at Roots Hall.

Blues came into the game off the back of a 4-1 defeat at the hands of Wycombe Wanderers, with Phil Brown making four changes to the ten that started the game at Adams Park.

It was Jack Payne who provided the early goal last week, and Kevan Hurst almost caused a sense of déjà vu when he broke the offside trap in the left channel, before swivelling and curling a low effort wide of the far post in just the third minute of the game.

A hotly-contested first half saw very few chances for either side, but Blues had a chance to take the initiative once again when a neat counter-attack was launched by Corr. Hurst and Will Atkinson combined before the latter picked out Corr. His header back to Ryan Leonard was fruitless however, with the midfielder lashing wide of goal.

A break in play after a head injury to a Burton player in front of the West Stand midway through the first half provided both managers with an opportunity to rally their troops.

Burton began with renewed energy, as Alex MacDonald went on a mazy run, which only culminated in him cutting onto his right foot and dragging a low shot into the side-netting. 

Some more smart approach play from Blues looked to be leading to a goal, when Corr combined with Ben Coker and David Worrall, before an offside flag denied Worrall with a clear sight of goal.

Blues had two corners in quick succession at the end of the first half, but Hurst’s attempts were claimed with minimum fuss by John McLaughlin in the Albion goal.

Despite Blues having the upper hand, the sides went in level at the interval, with no real chances of note for either side.

The second half saw the first card of the game, when referee Charles Breakspear brandishing a yellow card in the 48th minute. MacDonald was the recipient, due to a foul on Blues skipper John White 25 yards from goal.

Ben Coker tried his luck with a curling attempt, which almost squirmed in at McLaughlin’s near post, but the former Bradford City stopper was on hand to turn away the attempt.

Burton almost couldn't believe their luck shortly before the hour mark, as Cian Bolger misplaced a pass straight to MacDonald on the edge of the Southend box. 

MacDonald and Beavon combined, but Beavon’s attempt was tame and gathered with easy by Dan Bentley in the Blues goal.

Beavon was at the heart of the action again just moments later, when he rescued a lost cause in the left channel. After keeping the ball in play, he cut back to MacDonald, who lifted the ball into the area, only for Bryn Morris to lash the ball onto the roof.

The game was developing into an end-to-end encounter with chances for both sides coming thick and fast. 

Payne was next to try his luck when he took aim from 20 yards, but McLaughlin was on hand to parry the ball away from danger.

Corr rose highest to meet a long-throw from Leonard, but yet again McLaughlin was determined to remain unbeaten.

It looked as if Stuart Beavon was about to fire the visitors into a lead against the run of play, until his powerful effort was crowded out by a host of blue and white shirts shortly after the hour mark.

Corr went close once more, finding space in the penalty area from a Hurst corner. Corr managed to hang in the air, before seeing his well-placed header tipped over the bar at the final moment.

Jacob Blyth became the second name in the book for the visitors, when he brought down White. 

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink was the first manager to opt for a substitution, when he decided to replace Morris with 19-year-old Matty Palmer with just twenty minutes remaining.

Luke Prosser went into referee Breakspear’s book as the game entered the closing stages, for a foul on the newly-introduced Palmer.

The Roots Hall faithful were on their feet when Corr went to ground in the penalty area, but protestations calling for a penalty were flatly ignored.

Attention quickly turned to the other end of the pitch, as MacDonald went on a run that ended with his curling attempt flying just over Bentley’s goal.

Burton were to temporarily play with ten men, when Robbie Weir had to exit the field of play after picking up a cut to his left eye.

Following Weir’s return to the field of play, Beavon’s tenacity saw him rob Prosser and Bolger of the ball on the right-hand side. The forward cut back, allowing MacDonald a sight of goal. However, the Burnley youth product could only fire over from just inside the penalty area.

With around ten minutes of regulation time remaining, Phil Brown opted to introduce Myles Weston in place of Corr.

Weir was next into the book, after a handball 35 yards from goal. Blues looked to lift the ball into the box, but it came to nothing.

A Prosser header across the six-yard box almost found its way to Weston, but McLaughlin was alert and able to smother the ball before Weston could tap home.

With just under five minutes remaining, Burton boss Hasselbaink threw Adam McGurk into the fray, withdrawing MacDonald, at the heart of most of Burton’s best moments in the game.

The fourth official indicated that there would be a minimum of four additional minutes, but neither side were able to fashion a late chance as each side banked a point.

Blues: Bentley; White (c), Bolger, Prosser, Coker; Hurst, Leonard, Atkinson, Worrall; Payne; Corr, (Weston, 82)

Unused: P. Smith, Thompson, Timlin, Coulthirst, Deegan, O'Toole, 

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