We take a look back at the 15/16 season.The New Year began with a bump as successive defeats brought Southend United back down to earth following the festive high.
Blues welcomed Doncaster Rovers to Roots Hall for their first game of 2016, and were to suffer a New Year hangover as they were defeated 3-0 by the clinical Yorkshiremen.
Darren Ferguson’s side took the lead as Andy Williams bagged from close range after Blues failed to clear.
Aaron Taylor-Sinclair volleyed in to double the Viking’s advantage before Nathan Tyson converted from the spot to complete the scoring and compile the home crowd’s misery.
Phil Brown dipped into the transfer market in attempt to bolster the ranks and target man, Tyrone Barnett was the first to come through the door, on loan from Shrewsbury until the end of the season.
Barnett went straight into the starting eleven for the trip to Swindon Town and he made it a goalscoring debut as he fired home to give the Blues the lead after some sloppy defensive play from the Robins.
Adam Thompson made it two as he nodded in Ben Coker’s free kick from the left, but the home side rallied and were level before the break as Nicky Ajose fired in a rebound following a superb save from Dan Bentley and Jonathan Obika completed the fightback.
That appeared to galvanise Swindon as they came out for the restart as two further goals from Obika and Ajose saw them claim all three points.
As the wheels appeared to wobble the squad pulled their socks up, and a last gasp penalty save from Dan Bentley at Peterborough United salvaged a 0-0 draw put the wind back in Blues’ sails.
Boosted by that late penalty save at Posh, Southend went on to finish the month with an impressive 3-0 over Coventry City at Roots Hall; Tyrone Barnett bagging two on his home debut!
Blues took the lead on 24 minutes as full-back Stephen Hendrie - also making his home bow after signing on a one-month loan deal - closed down Coventry Captain Sam Ricketts’ clearance into the path of Jack Payne, who hit a sweet strike into the bottom right-hand corner.
Southend doubled their lead seven minutes later, Hendrie yet again a major factor. The Hammers loanee picked the lock of the Sky Blues defence, putting through Barnett who sent the ball beyond Reice Charles-Cook into the back of the net.
As the Blues looked to control proceedings in the second-half, they didn’t make it easy for themselves as they were reduced to ten men on 51 minutes.
Gary Deegan, booked earlier in the game, received his marching orders after fouling James Maddison in the middle of the pitch.
As the visitors pressed, they looked exposed at the back, and Will Atkinson ceased on that opportunity after being put clean though by Barnett.
With just Charles-Cook to out-master, Atkinson took the keeper on, and was sent tumbling in the box. No option for the referee, penalty.
Charles Cook, perhaps lucky to stay on the pitch, could do nothing to stop Barnett bagging a brace from the spot. The Blues were now three goals to the good and out of sight.
That resounding victory ensured that Southend finished the month in ninth position on 41 points; two points outside the play-off positions.