Report: Southend United 2-0 Portsmouth
Second-half goals from Barr Corr and substitute Shaquile Coulthirst earned Blues all three points over Portsmouth, in a well-earned 2-0 victory at Roots Hall in Sky Bet League 2.
Corr headed Southend ahead in the 56th minute from a Myles Weston corner, before Coulthirst wrapped up all three points in the final moments of the game after Pompey were caught out on the break.
Southend United manager Phil Brown made four changes following last weekend’s 1-1 draw at home to Oxford United, with Jerome Williams coming into the side to make his debut replacing Ben Coker.
Meanwhile, Corr, Kevan Hurst and Gary Deegan were called into the starting 11 replacing Coulthirst, Will Atkinson and Conor Clifford respectively.
Portsmouth created the first chance of the game in the second minute, but Ricky Holmes’ cross was cleverly cut out by Luke Prosser, before the ball was cleared away to safety.
The visitors continued to pile the pressure on Southend’s back line, but couldn’t create any clear-cut chances with both Holmes and Danny Hollands firing their efforts straight at goalkeeper Daniel Bentley.
Blues started to become more involved in the match and had their first opportunity in the ninth minute as Hurst’s corner was met by a Williams header who was denied by Pompey shot-stopper Paul Jones, as the midfielder’s second attempt was nodded over the bar.
On 17 minutes, Weston linked up well with John White, but his curling long-range effort was comfortably saved by Jones.
Despite a lively start to the afternoon, it became a sloppy game with both side’s failing to maintain possession for long periods of time, as Blues failed to take advantage of a corner on the half hour mark, with White heading wide.
Southend went close moments later as Weston’s cross to the back post was met by Jack Payne’s head, but the midfielder’s effort went wide before Hurts’ speculative dipping effort before half-time went over from 25 yards.
Pompey started the second-half brightly, when Miles Storey went on a pulsating run passed the Southend defence, before Bentley palmed away his powerful strike.
This was a wakeup call for Blues, as they quickly reacted, catching the away side out on the break as Williams’ low cross was met by a first time effort from Payne who was denied by Jones.
Payne was in the thick of the action again just minutes later, with his acrobatic overhead kick being comfortably saved by the ever-impressive Jones once again.
Southend’s pressure deservedly paid off on 56 minutes, when Corr headed Blues ahead from close-range following a Hurst corner.
Skipper White then almost doubled Blues’ advantage in the 63rd minute, following his shot being stopped by the leg of Jones in a goalmouth scramble, as Pompey cleared their lines once more.
Pompey desperately searched for an equaliser, testing Bentley on a number of occasions, failing to cause the Southend number one shot-stopper any major problems.
However, with five minutes to go, a well worked move from the visitors almost found its way to Holmes, but Ryan Leonard superbly produced a last ditch tackle to deny the opposition midfielder any sniff on goal.
Whilst Portsmouth continued to push forward, Blues caught their opponents out on the counter-attack as substitute Coulthirst carried the ball forward 20 yards before placing his shot home, securing all three points for Blues, lifting them up to eighth place in League 2.