REPORT | Southend 3-0 Bradford
Will Atkinson was at the double and sent Southend to an important three points at Roots Hall to move up to ninth place in Sky Bet League One.
The influential midfielder was busy all match and grabbed his first brace since 2009 to continue their good form and stretch their unbeaten league form to six matches.
Romain Vincelot then had a moment to forget with a few minutes remaining as he diverted Marc Antoine-Fortune’s cross into his own net to round off a brilliant day for Blues.
The first real chance of the match fell to Nile Ranger. A corner was floated in by Anthony Wordsworth and the powerful forward rose highest but his header went just inches over the cross bar.
A few minutes later, Ranger was again involved. Will Atkinson played a delicate pass over the top of the Bradford defence for him to run onto but his half volley went well off target.
Southend deservedly took the lead 14 minutes in. Simon Cox broke away and played in the unmarked Atkinson who placed his effort superbly into the bottom right hand corner.
Bradford slowly came back into it with Nicky Law who broke clear of Wordsworth in midfield and his deflected effort went just wide for a corner with Mark Oxley scrambling low to his right.
Moments later, James Hanson rattled Blues' crossbar with a header. A good cross in from a Mark Marshall found his team mate but he couldn’t convert.
Stephen McLaughlin came into life as he wandered into a central area. He found half a yard before driving his effort but unfortunately quite a way off target just before the half hour mark.
Wordsworth had his free kick well saved by the experienced Colin Doyle as Southend searched for a second. He was fouled initially in the build up and 20 yards out, was close to doubling The Blues lead.
Ben Coker picked up an injury and was eventually replaced by Michael Timlin at left-back with 35 minutes gone.
Wordsworth was involved again as he tried a 30 yard pile driver which whistled just over the cross bar just before half time.
He then had another effort right on half-time. Doyle saw the effort through a crowd of players very late and a strong left hand tipped it behind for a corner.
Half Time: Southend 1-0 Bradford
Bradford built some pressure up in the second half as Timothee Dieng had a deflected effort saved by Mark Oxley and had successive corners which Southend dealt with comfortable.
Nathaniel Knight-Percival had a header for the Bantams cleared off the line by Jason Demetriou just after the hour mark and Stephen Darby’s half volley on the rebound went well off target.
With 72 minutes played and Atkinson added his and Southend’s second. Good hold up play by substitute Fortune created space for the midfielder who drilled home from the corner of the box into the bottom left hand corner.
A minute later he nearly completed his hat-trick. A floated cross was spilled by Doyle and James Meredith cleared off the line to save his keepers blushes.
The game was virtually won but there was still time for Blues to grab a third. Fortune’s cross from the right was aimed at Ranger but Vincelot's touch sent the ball rolling into the far post and into the back of the net to seal the victory.