As we prepare to welcome Burton Albion to Roots Hall on Monday night, we revisit an encounter between the sides from the 2014/15 season:A game that also took place under the lights, Southend welcomed Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s Brewers to south Essex on Friday December 19.
Unfortunately, the occasion failed to excite and live up to any kind of ‘Christmas Cracker’ as both defences cancelled out opposing attacks, and the match concluded in a goalless draw.
It is in similar circumstances to the upcoming fixture in which both teams went into last seasons meeting; in the hunt for promotion.
Burton were healthily positioned in second place and Southend were just outside the play-offs in eighth.
The point did little to benefit Burton who failed to capitalise on the chance to go top, but Blues leapfrogged Exeter, Newport and Plymouth into fifth and closed up an already compact play-off picture which separated four teams by one point.
By the close of play that weekend, Burton were the biggest losers thanks to Shrewsbury Town and Luton Town both gaining maximum points and nudging them into fourth place just outside the automatic positions, while Blues dropped one place as a result of Plymouth’s 3-0 win over Dagenham & Redbridge.
Nobody needs to be told the outcome of that promotion race, as both sets of fans will have the events etched in their memories for some time. Forgive me, though, for stating the obvious that both sides were promoted - Burton as champions and Southend, very vividly, via a Play-off Final win at Wembley.
Fortunately, the two points dropped was more a point gained as Kevan Hurst and Stuart Beavon went closest for their respective teams in trying to break the deadlock.
It is a mark of both clubs and their managers, Burton now lead by Nigel Clough following Hasselbaink’s departure to QPR, that in their first season in a league up from when they last met on Southend soil, that they have been able to not only acclimatise to a higher standard, but are chasing promotion once gain.
Blues: Bentley; White, Bolger, Prosser, Coker; Hurst, Leonard, Atkinson, Payne, Worral; Corr (Weston 82’)
Unused Subs: Smith, Thompson, Deegan, O’Toole, Timlin, Coulthirst