REPORT | Southend United 1-1 Shewsbury TownSouthend United were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Shrewsbury Town at Roots Hall.
The visitors took the lead thanks to a stunning strike from Shrews' skipper Adam El-Abd on 39 minutes from 25-yards out.
Blues were not to go into the break behind however, as Stephen McLaughlin fired home shortly before half time with a powerful low-drive.
After the first period set up an interesting second half in prospect, chances were hard to come by and Blues had to settle for a point; making it four without loss in the league and seven undefeated at Roots Hall in all competitions.
Southend came into the match on a decent run of form, two wins in their last three. However Nile Ranger was not involved due to picking up a groin strain.
Both sides had early free kicks in dangerous positions. The away side had a delivery put in by Junior Brown towards Ivan Tovey. After a hashed clearance by Adam Thompson, Anton Ferdinand managed to clear. Jason Demetriou sent in a delivery to the back stick but it harmlessly ran out of play for a goal kick.
Marc-Antoine Fortune sent in a deflected cross which evaded everyone and nearly found Ryan Leonard at the back post before Brown desperately cleared for a corner.
Demetriou had an effort moments later which was initially spilled by Jayson Leutwiler but he gathered at the second attempt after Simon Cox nearly pounced on it. Fortune was involved again as he looked to have been tripped by Adam El-Abd but referee Christopher Sarginson thought against it.
El-Abd gave the visitors the lead with a stunning strike against the run of play. The ball was chested down to him and he smashed the ball on the half volley from 25 yards into the top left hand corner giving Mark Oxley no chance.
Moments later Toney smacked the post from the edge of the box in a shaky spell for The Blues. However, just before half time the Blues pulled it back level. Stephen McLaughlin drilled home from the edge of the six yard box. A good turn by Cox and a neatly threaded through ball to the winger. He in turn took a touch before firing home.
In the second half the match became more of midfield battle. Jermaine McGlashan was brought on near the hour mark as The Blues searched for a winner.
The Blues pushed on at the end but in truth the second half had fizzled out as both sides took a share of the spoils.