Southend United & Gillingham play out 1-1 draw
Southend United and Gillingham could not be separated at Roots Hall as the two played out a 1-1 draw in front of 9,135.
Anthony Wordsworth gave Blues a half time lead but Justin Edinburgh’s side equalised ten minutes into the second half through Luke Norris
A point was probably a fair result and leaves Southend three points adrift of the play-off places, as their rivals for a berth couldn’t stretch in front out of sight.
Phil Brown named the same team that beat Barnsley 2-0 last week, but it was the visitors who were first to go close in the fourth minute
Brennan Dickenson crossed for Norris who was denied before Jake Hessenthaler almost converted the follow-up, but Dan Bentley made a fantastic double save to prevent them both.
It was Gillingham who were making the early inroads with better spells of possession in the Southend half.
Blues’ first chance came when Kevan Hurst crossed for Barnett but he couldn’t find Wordsworth with a clever overhead kick.
Recently signed on loan defender for Gillingham Demi Oshilaja headed a chance wide and Blues responded with a neat passing move which tested the hands of Stuart Nelson in between the Gillingham sticks.
Kamara found Payne with a clever pass who laid it onto Barnett but his turn and shot was straight at Nelson.
With 20 minutes on the clock, Blues took the lead through Wordsworth.
The impressive Kamara picked out the midfielder 12 yards out and he had the intelligence to slot it into the right hand corner.
Blues had their tails up after taking the lead and were looking for a second.
Hurst sent a blistering right footed strike from 30 yards inches over the bar and Payne had a strike palmed away from 20 yards.
Goal hero from last week, Payne, was looking getting closer and closer to getting another this weekend, but he had a shot blocked which looked destined for the far corner.
That brought the close of the first half and Southend were relatively comfortable and worthy of their lead.
After the break, Payne was again at the forefront of a Blues attack, but his strike hit the side netting and not the inside of the right post as some of the home fans had initially believed.
And from the goal kick, Gillingham went u the other end to equalise.
A cross from the left hand side picked out Norris who fired passed Bentley in front of the away supporters.
Gillingham were in the ascendency after taking the lead and went close through Andrew Croft’s deflected volley.
Brown signalled his intentions by taking off a midfielder in Kamara for an attacker in Jamar Loza, reverting to a two-man strike partnership.
A last-ditch tackle from Ben Coker denied Dominic Samuel a sight at goal as the game got more and more stretched.
Payne again had an effort saved and then Barnett had a chance which came to him quickly from Sam McQueen’s cross, and the front-man couldn’t adjust his feet in time.
Bentley had to be alert to tip Samuel’s 25 yard strike around the post and he was called into action again from the striker in a goalmouth scramble and Oshilaja’s follow-up was hastily cleared away off the line.
Wordsworth teed up Payne from a tight angle and he sliced one wide of the left post as the game entered the closing minutes.
And neither team could snatch it late on, the game ending with a point apiece for both.