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15/16 SEASON REVIEW | March

7 June 2016

We take a look back at the 15/16 season.

Blues, looking to bounce back from defeat at Port Vale faced a struggling Crewe Alexandra at Roots Hall as they looked to kick off March with a win.

Blues found themselves frustrated by the Railwaymen as for all their possession, Southend were struggling to find that killer ball to create that elusive clear-cut chance.

The game was crying out for something to happen, and the referee duly obliged on 38 minutes as he gave the Blues a penalty after David Mooney was brought down by Oliver Turton in the box.

Tyrone Barnett was the one to step up, and he saw his spot-kick denied by Ben Garratt as the keeper got down well to his right to save and hold the ball.

The game grew stale, desperately looking for a lease of life as the clock ran down, and unfortunately for the Blues, it was the away side who provided it in the 86th minute.

Ben Coker gave a free kick away for a foul on George Cooper on the edge of the box. Cooper stepped up to the take it, and flashed a left-footed curler in to the right-hand side of the net.

Southend, just as they had done all night, struggled to respond to the setback, but were given hope by the referee as he gave them their second penalty of the night as Ben Nugent brought down Jamar Loza in stoppage time.

This time, they weren’t to be denied as Payne’s spot kick squeezed into the right corner to rescue a point for the Blues.

Next up was another home fixture against another side looking to pull away from the League One danger zone.

Chesterfield were the opponents and they were to be the first team to leave Roots Hall with all three points since January 2nd as a late Lee Novak strike on the break stole all three points for the Spireites.

Moments before the home support was in uproar as referee, Darren Drysdale waved away a potential penalty as Sam Hird brought down Mooney in the box.

A surprise result to many, but the unpredictability of football doesn’t always work against you as Southend were to discover a week later.

As many thought the hopes of play-offs had died after one point from three games, Southend sprung a surprise and beat Barnsley 2-0 at Oakwell; Europe’s third most in-form team at the time.

Blues with a point to prove came out the blocks strong, and it wasn’t long before they made the perfect start thanks to Payne’s wonderfully taken goal inside four minutes.

The midfielder turned the Barnsley defence exquisitely on the 18-yard box before expertly rolling the ball past Adam Davies into the bottom left-hand corner.

The brilliant spell of pressure from Phil Brown’s men did everything but find the back of the net to extend their lead.

And they were almost made the pay for it.

Ashley Fletcher stole a march on Barrett and drove into the box, rounded Bentley before going to ground.

The goalkeeper tried to pull his arms away but the referee spotted an infringement, which gave the hosts a penalty and Bentley a yellow card. Conor Hourihane, however, stroked the spot kick wide of the right post.

The game was in the dying minutes of second half stoppage time as Barnsley looked to force one last opening.

There was to be one final goal - it was a stunner and it was delivered by Southend and by the bullet boot of Michael Timlin!

The Irishman rifled in from 25 yards into the top corner to hand his team a vital three points on the road. A goal truly befitting of Blues’ great performance.

Not many better results to go into a local derby against Gillingham back at home base. The two sides couldn’t be separated in this affair though as they shared the honours at 1-1 in front of a crowd of over 9,000.

With 20 minutes on the clock, Blues took the lead through Anthony Wordsworth.

The impressive Glen Kamara picked out the midfielder 12 yards out and he had the intelligence to slot it into the right hand corner.

Eight minutes into the second period Gills were level, as a cross from the left hand side picked out Luke Norris who fired passed Bentley in front of the away supporters.

A point was probably a fair result and left Southend three points adrift of the play-off places.

A good Friday trip to Rochdale was next up for Blues and inconsistency was to rear its head once again at Spotland Stadium.

Southend slumped to a 4-1 away defeat as facing a Rochdale side that had won five of their last six, took its toll.

Blues took the lead when Jack Payne lifted the ball over Josh Lillis, but Dale showed class with a turnaround consisting of goals from Grant Holt, Joe Rafferty, Jamie Allen and Joe Bunney to give the home side all three points.

So it was case of do or die in the final game in March against Sheffield United at Roots Hall.

And Southend United got themselves firmly back on the play-off trail with a 3-1 victory over Sheffield United.

Goals from Barnett, David Worrall, and Payne saw the Blues move up to eighth position in the League 1 standings.

Hammond had levelled for the Blades following Barnett’s opener but two second half stunners saw Southend home and dry!

Worrall restored the advantage as the winger cut inside on the right before unleashing a pile driver in to the far corner.

It needed a little bit of magic to settle this one and up stepped Payne who floated past the Blades back-line before a clinical chip sent Roots Hall in to ecstasy and Southend firmly back on the top-six hunt.

That result saw Southend finish the month in eighth position, six points off the play-offs with seven left to play.

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