Report: Southend United 1-1 Hartlepool
Southend United were left frustrated after Hartlepool United picked up a point in a 1-1 draw at Roots Hall.
Blues were the better side for much of the game, and had numerous opportunities to win it, but the visitors defended valiantly.
Barry Corr scored his seventh of the season to hand Blues a deserved lead just before half-time.
A stunning equaliser from Bradley Walker undid Blues’ work just before the hour-mark.
Clearances off the line and plenty of goalmouth scrambles ensued, but Blues were unable to find a winner late on.
Anthony Straker was back for Blues, as they reverted to a 4-3-3 formation, with Lee Barnard the man to drop down to the bench.
The system change was clearly suiting Blues early on, and they created their first real opening after good work between Will Atkinson and Barry Corr.
The former crossed for the latter, who saw his volley block, before the rebound bounced off a defender only for the goalkeeper to come to the rescue.
Daniel Bentley then had to be alert to save smartly from Walker at the other end.
The return of Straker had lifted Blues, and the fans he was closest to in the first-half.
The winger went within inches of opening the scoring, only to be denied by the woodwork.
He rose highest to meet John White’s cross, but his header bounced down off the bar and Scott Flinders was on hand to grab the loose ball.
The visitors were still threatening on the counter, and perhaps should’ve gone ahead in the 22nd minute.
Darren Holden beat Kevan Hurst and crossed low for Walker with the midfielder unmarked at the back post, but Bentley produced an excellent stop.
Blues did continue to press, but it took until just a couple of minutes before half-time to find a breakthrough.
Straker find Atkinson who drove in from the line and played in Hurst. The midfielder got to the byline and produced a low cross that found Corr, who finished smartly.
Brown’s side began the second-half on top once again, and almost found a second ten minute in.
Ben Coker’s corner found Adam Thompson at the back post, but he saw his diving header well kept out by Flinders.
Straker was continuing to cause the hosts problems, and saw a fierce strike just about kept out by Pools goalkeeper Flinders.
Against the run of play, the visitors equalised. Michael Timlin’s clearance only went as far as Walker, who controlled on his chest and volleyed superbly past Bentley.
Blues’ response was almost immediate and they were so close to restoring their lead.
Hurst beat a man and fired past the goalkeeper, but Holden was on hand to clear just about off the line.
At the other end, Bentley saved well from Luke James after the striker had beaten the offside trap.
Ryan Leonard then provided a teasing cross, but Corr failed to connect when in a dangerous position in the box.
Despite sustained late pressure, Blues had to settle for a point against the team immediately below them in the table at kick-off.
Blues: Bentley; White, Phillips, Thompson, Coker; Leonard, Timlin, Atkinson; Hurst, Corr, Straker (71).
Subs: Smith, Payne, Laird, Williams, Barnard, Gomis.