Southend suffer defeat in first game of 2016Southend United succumbed to their second successive defeat, in a three-nil loss to Doncaster Rovers at Roots Hall.
Goals from Andy Williams, Aaron Taylor-Sinclair and Nathan Tyson ensured it was miserable start to 2016 for the Blues.
Going in to the game, Manager Phil Brown made just the one change from Monday’s defeat to Millwall, with Glen Rea coming in to replace David Worrall.
In opposition, Doncaster made two alterations with Luke McCullough and Nathan Tyson replacing Felipe Mattioni and Harry Middleton in a 3-5-2 formation.
The first chance amongst blustery conditions at Roots Hall went to the visitors in the eighth minute, when a tame shot from Craig Alcock was comfortably dealt with by Blues keeper Daniel Bentley.
Rovers continued to press and went close in the 13th minute after good link up play down the left-hand side saw Tyson race with the ball to the by-line before cutting the ball back to top-scorer, Andy Williams.
Fortunately for the Blues, the former Swindon man completely missed the ball, before the subsequent effort from James Coppinger was easily saved.
The Blues gradually started to impose themselves on the game, and some neat trickery from Jack Payne saw him find space for the shot in the 14th minute. Unfortunately the wingers’ effort was blocked.
But it was the away side who continued to create the more clear cut chances in the early exchanges as centre-half, Andrew Butler sent a looping header back across goal, just missing Bentley’s top corner from a free-kick fired in by Alcock.
As the rain continued to pour, Ben Coker fired a ball in to the box from the left. The ball was flicked on by Noel Hunt towards the direction of David Mooney at the back-post. The Irishman slid in, but couldn’t get significant contact on the ball to trouble keeper, David Stuckmann.
Much of Doncaster’s joy in the first-half came down the left, as the pace of Cedric Evina, and Tyson proved difficult to handle. Coker had to be on hand to cut at a dangerous cross from Tyson as Coppinger lurked behind him.
Blues were forced to make a change on 40 minutes, as David Worrall came in to replace the imjured Will Atkinson.
Shortly after that switch Southend created their best effort of the half.
Following a well worked short corner, Payne found space on the edge of the box before curling a rasping effort goalwards. The ball was destined for the bottom left-hand corner before Stuckmann got down well to save.
It was Rovers who were to take the lead though on 43 minutes.
A Tyson cross evaded the Southend backline, allowing Williams to steer home and give his side the lead just before the half.
Williams then looked to double his tally, and saw his shot saved by Bentley as he ran at the Blues defence on 45’.
Southend piled on the pressure in first-half added time, and earned themselves consecutive corners, the last of which parried out to the feet of Rea at the edge of the box.
The Irishman sent an effort towards the bottom left-hand corner, but Stuckmann ensured his team went in to the break in-front.
Half-Time Southend United 0-1 Doncaster Rovers.
Doncaster were fastest out the blocks at the start of the second period, as Paul Keegan’s thunderous strike clipped the outside the post in the 47th minute.
The visitors continued to press as a Luke McCullough header was cleared off the line from a corner three minutes later.
Rovers weren’t to be denied for long and doubled their lead from a corner ball on 52 minutes, when Aaron Taylor-Sinclair met Coppinger’s ball and headed home.
It was to get worse for the Blues five minutes later, as Referee, Lee Collins awarded Doncaster a penalty.
A defensive error saw Tyson disposes Bentley near the left-hand corner, before picking out Williams. The striker, with the goal at his mercy cut inside before being brought down by Adam Thompson.
Tyson stood up to take the spot kick and buried it in the bottom right-hand corner to put daylight amongst the two sides.
Despite the set-back, The Blues rallied and went close when a zipping Coker cross was almost steered in to his own net by Butler on 67 minutes. Shortly after Hunt was also denied at point-blank range, following a Ryan Leonard cross.
The away side went close to making it four on 72’ as Keegan sent another fine effort, this time from a free kick, just wide.
Substitute Worrall looked to get his side back in to the game on 79’ as he picked out Leonard in the box, but the midfielder’s header could only find Stuckmann.
Coker was then was to be denied by the Rovers stopper, as his powerful effort was saved with five minutes to go.
Any late Blues effort to claw back the deficit came to no avail and the game finished three-nil to the visitors.
Southend United: Bentley, White, Thompson, Barrett, Coker, Rea (Deegan 52’), Leonard, Atkinson (Worall 40’), Payne, Hunt, Mooney (Piggott 69’).
Unused Subs: Smith, Prosser, O’Neill, Mclaughlin.
Doncaster Rovers: Stuckmann, Evina (Lund 81’), McCullough. Butler, Williams, Tyson, Keegan, Taylor-Sinclair, Grant, Coppinger (Middleton 81’), Alcock.
Unused Subs: Marosi, Chaplow, Mackenzie, McKay, Mandeville,
Attendance: 7,134 (374 Visitors)