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BLUES AT 110 | Pieces of History - Part three

8 June 2016

A look back at some memorable Blues moments - This edition we look at Southend's road to the League One title in 2006!

As the club recently celebrated it's 110th year in existence, we decided to pick out some particular key moments in Blues history.

Part three sees us look at how Southend United made it back-to-back promotions and secured the League One crown in 2005/06.

After seven seasons in League Two, many would have settled for a season of consolidation, Steve Tilson though had other ideas. He bought in some experienced players like Efe Sodje and former Manchester City legend Shaun Goater, while Spencer Prior returned to the club where he started his career.

The acquisition of the veteran Goater proved a masterstroke, a knowledgeable foil for the rampant youngster Freddy Eastwood.

Despite a triumphant end, the season began with defeat as two goals from Nathan Lowndes saw Port Vale beat Blues 2-1 at Roots Hall with Wayne Gray scoring an overhead kick for Southend.

An eight game winning streak in October propelled the Blues up the table and on January 2nd after Freddy Eastwood snatched a late winner in a 2-1 victory at Blackpool, Southend reached the summit and would stay there until the end of the season to win the title in fine style.

The Blues needed to win on the last day of the season to deny Essex rivals Colchester United the coveted silverware and a tense game against Bristol City at Roots Hall ensued on Saturday 6 May 2006.

Home fans had dressed up in Caribbean style clothing to say farewell to Shaun Goater who had announced his retirement. With a few minutes remaining and the game still goalless, the game paused as the entire crowd, including some 400 Manchester City fans, gave an incredible ovation to an emotional Goater as he walked of a pitch for the last time.

His replacement, Wayne Gray, settled the nerves of the home crowd with a goal three minutes from time. Southend United were League One champions and Tilson had achieved back-to-back promotions.

Other highlights from this memorable season included winning a 4-3 classic over Chesterfield as Blues twice came from behind to win with Goater netting the deciding goal 15 minutes from time.

There was also the matter of an Essex Derby double as Southend hit Colchester for six over two games in 2005/06.

The home fixture was first up in August and ‘The Goat’ was fed and he bagged a brace as Southend were victorious 3-1.

The striker got his first by collecting a long ball from Luke Guttridge, rd the challenge of Liam Chilvers before finding the net with a 12-yard drive.

Sam Stockley levelled for the visitors but Mitchell Cole restored the advantage intercepted Mark Yeates' pass on the halfway line before racing away to make it 2-1.

Mark Bentley then hit it long over the top and Goater swooped in to slot past Dean Gerken and seal the bragging rights.

In the Reverse fixture in March it was all over by half time as a three-goal blitz from the Blues in first 45 minutes saw them secure a famous double over their local rivals.

Eastwood opened the scoring with a header before Goater picked out skipper Kevin Maher to stretch the lead.

The match was ended as a contest on the half hour mark as Che Wilson converted from a tight angle to duly crown Southend United the Kings of Essex!

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