REPORT | Southend United 1-1 Bristol RoversSimon Cox rescued a point from the spot for Southend United as they drew 1-1 against Bristol Rovers in Sky Bet League One at Roots Hall.
Rovers had thought they had won it after Peter Hartley headed in from a corner just past the hour-mark, but Blues were presented with a lifeline as Ellis Harrison handled in the box with ten to go.
Cox did not pass up the opportunity sending Mildenhall the wrong way and giving his side a point in a frustrating affair.
Phil Brown made one forced change from the team that defeated Sheffield United in the week with Nile Ranger, out with an ankle injury, replaced by David Mooney.
In blustery conditions Blues enjoyed the majority of the ball in the opening exchanges. Mooney showed good hold up play on the edge on before playing it wide to O’Neill. The winger sent a dangerous low ball in but no one Blue could latch on to it on 14’.
Harrison found some space on the edge just before the 20-minute mark but hit a tame right-footed effort which Oxley saved comfortably.
It was game that struggled gather rhythm and chances were hard to come by. James Clarke tried his luck from range just past the half-hour mark which zipped past the post.
O’Neill forced Blues’ first shot on target on 33’ - hitting a righted effort towards the top corner of the near post on the right though Mildenhall was equal to it.
Mooney then almost caught the Rovers keeper napping soon after, as he nipped in behind Mildenhall before laying it back to Cox who skewed the effort wide in the area.
Ollie Clarke had best chance of the half on the stroke of half time hitting a left-footed drive from 20-yards which Oxley had to get down to his right to flick behind for a corner.
Half time: Southend United 0-0 Bristol Rovers
A trio of chances kicked the second half off for Blues on 49’ – Mclaughlin advanced with the ball on the left into the area before getting the shot off with Mildenhall denied.
The ball then parried out to O’Neill on the edge who lined up to shoot before being intercepted just before his pulled the trigger. It then fell loose for Leonard from 25-yards out who fired just wide of the right-hand post.
Danger man Taylor almost gave Rovers the lead just past the hour mark, hitting a rasping shot from outside the area which Oxley got up well to tip over.
From that resulting corner kick Bristol took the lead as Hartley, unmarked from six-yards out headed in Lines’ ball to give the visitors the lead.
Blues responded to the setback by looking to inject some pace into the attack as McGlashan replaced O’Neill and Bridge came on for Mooney.
That switch almost pulled off on 70 minutes as Cox played in McGlashan beautifully on the right. The winger took a touch and instead of trying his luck looked to tee up one of his team mates for a tap-in which Rovers read and cleared.
McGlashan and Cox linked up again well two minutes later, this time it was the former that picked out the latter in the box, though Cox’s header was wide of the target.
Lines almost put Rovers two to the good on 75’ and he sent a curling effort that whistled past the top-left hand corner.
Southend were presented with a golden opportunity to get back into the match with ten minutes remaining, as Bridge at the back post attempted to play it back across goal. The midfielder’s ball was adjudged to have been blocked by the hand of Harrison and referee, Gavin Ward pointed to the spot.
Up stepped Cox, who slotted the ball home to his right to give Blues an equaliser and his second goal in as many games.
As both sides looked for an elusive winner, Barrett and Coker had to be on hand to make vital interceptions one after the other from Sinclair and Lines in the box with three to play.
In the five minutes of stoppage time, Cox nearly gave Blues the winner with the spectacular as he attempted an overhead kick in the box. Mildenhall was equal to the effort however and it ended honours even.
SOUTHEND XI | Oxley, Demetriou, Barrett (c), Thompson, Coker, O'Neill, Leonard, King, McLaughlin, Mooney, Cox.
SUBS | Smith, White, Sokolik, Bridge, Atkinson, McGlashan, Williams.
BRISTOL ROVERS XI | Mildenhall, Leadbitter, Brown, Lockyer (c), Hartley, Clarke, Harrison, Taylor, Lines, Clarke, Sinclair.
SUBS | McChrystal, Easter, Montano, Puddy, Broom, James, Gaffney.
Golden Goal Time: 60 mins 55 Secs