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Season Review August: Blues make best start for 23 years

26 May 2014

A look back at the month of August from our 2013-14 season...

After a long ten months, Southend United’s 2013-14 campaign ended in disappointing fashion, as Burton Albion won 3-2 on aggregate to progress to the play-off final at Wembley.

Despite that, progression has been made by Blues this season under manager Phil Brown, in his first full season as Southend United boss.

Here, we take a look back at the month of August, as Blues made their best start for 23 years.

Southend United 1-0 Plymouth Argyle – Saturday 3rd August

Phil Brown had spoken in pre-season about how important it was for Blues to win their home games. His players listened, as they started the season with all three points against John Sheridan’s side.

Marc Laird, playing in the midfield two with Ryan Leonard who had impressed in that role in pre-season, set up Barry Corr in the first half to seal the win. Blues would keep out Argyle, and pick up their first clean sheet of manager, with Daniel Bentley in goal.

Ben Coker, John White, Will Atkinson, Craig Reid and Conor Clifford all made their Southend United debuts.

Southend United 0-1 Yeovil Town – Tuesday 6th August

Blues’ Capital One Cup run ended at the first stage, as they were beaten 1-0 by Championship side Yeovil Town in the first round.

Gary Johnson’s side, who had opened their first ever season in the Championship with a win at Millwall, came out on top thanks to Kevin Dawson’s first-half strike.

Barry Corr and Don Cowan, who had signed a one-month deal before the game, went close, before Marek Stech pulled off two good saves late on, but Blues were unable to find a way through.

Julian Bennett made his debut for the club in the game, but he came off injured on the hour mark and would later be ruled out for the season. Youngster Jack Payne also made his first-team debut.

Hartlepool United 0-1 Southend United – Saturday 10th August

Trips to Victoria Park are usually well associated with a freezing cold trip up north, but with it being Blues’ first away game of the season, that wasn’t the case.

That was added to by the fact Freddy Eastwood scored his first goal of the season to seal another 1-0 victory for Blues after he tapped home from Will Atkinson’s cutback.

Barry Corr was sent off just before half-time, a decision that would later be rescinded by the FA, but Blues held out with ten-men to ensure they made it six points from six to start the season.

Adam Thompson, who had signed the day before on loan, came on to make his Southend United debut.

Southend United 2-0 Northampton Town – Saturday 17th August

Southend United made it three wins from three, three clean sheets and their best start for 23 years as they beat Northampton Town 2-0 at Roots Hall.

Daniel Bentley saved Roy O’Donovan’s to keep his clean sheet record in tact in the league.

Chris Hackett was sent off early for two bookable offences, before Anthony Straker opened the scoring heading home from a deflected Freddy Eastwood strike.

Eastwood then got his second goal in as many games to double Blues’ lead in the second-half, latching on to John White’s pass.

Chesterfield 2-1 Southend United – Saturday 24th August

Blues’ unbeaten run in the league came to an end following an enthralling game against Chesterfield – who would go on to win League 2.

After an open, but goalless first half, Gary Roberts ended Blues’ clean sheet streak as he curled home a free-kick from 30-yards.

But Blues responded magnificently as the returning Kevan Hurst, who had been out injured in the opening weeks, set up Freddy Eastwood to make it three in three.

Luke Prosser had a late chance to win it for Blues, but couldn’t take it, and Phil Brown’s side were made to pay as Armand Gnanduillet headed home from Roberts’ corner in the 96th minute.

Wycombe Wanderers 2-1 Southend United – Saturday 31st August

The first month of the season ended on a disappointing note as Blues lost a second successive away game, again going down 2-1.

Former loanee Dean Morgan put the hosts ahead early on, but Freddy Eastwood grabbed his fourth in four games to level moments later.

From another set piece, Steven Craig headed Wycombe back in front, and they led 2-1 at the break, despite John White hitting the bar.

Anthony Straker then hit the bar in the second-half, and Craig Reid saw a shot flash wide after coming off the bench, but Blues were unable to find a way through.

The month ended with Blues on nine points from their opening five games, scoring six and conceding four. Brown’s side sat seventh in the table, occupying the final play-off spot.

Tomorrow, we take a look at September, a tough month for Phil Brown and Blues.

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