REPORT | Northampton Town 4-0 Southend UnitedSouthend United were defeated 4-0 by Northampton Town at Sixfields Stadium as a strong second half display from the Cobblers succumbed ten-man Blues to a heavy defeat.
After a goalless first period, John-Joe O'Toole opened the scoring early on in the second half, before Alex Revell doubled the lead from the spot after Demetriou brought down Paul Anderson; an offence that saw him sent off by referee Ross Joyce.
Northampton made their one-man advantage count, adding two further strikes from Matty Taylor and Anderson to effectively end the game as a contest.
Phil Brown named an unchanged starting XI in a 5-4-1 formation for this one with a place on the bench for Anthony Wordsworth and Anton Ferdinand after recovering from injury. A starting place for Adam Barrett made it 350 appearances for Blues for Mr Southend United.
The first opportunity of the game went to Blues in the first five minutes as Ben Coker whipped in a teasing ball from a free kick 25-yards out on the left. Both Barrett and White challenged for it with the latter heading the ball into the hands of Cobbler's keeper Smith.
Southend enjoyed the majority of the opening exchanges sending a few dangerous balls into the box where Northampton had to be at the races to clear.
Back came the hosts as Hoskins skipped past Coker and fired across an inviting low cross which Demetriou read well to clear on 16'.
The blustery conditions made the need to play it on the surface a must as Northampton looked to press through Hoskins on 18 minutes. The winger's fired for goal from 20-yards but the shot was tame and Oxley gathered comfortably.
20 minutes gone and Blues carved out a golden opportunity to score. Demetriou sent one across to the back post to Barrett, who had moved forward with the attack. The centre-half headed it into the direction of Mooney who then clipped one across goal to McLaughlin on the half-volley. With the keeper scrambling McLaughlin took a touch which allowed the Cobblers to put bodies on the line to block his shot.
Back at the other end and Taylor hit a ferocious effort from just outside the area on the right which was too hot for Oxley to hold on to, saving it behind for a corner.
Play was halted just short of the half hour mark as McCourt received treatment after taking a knock. As soon as play restarted McGlashan went on the attack, zipping inside and going for goal where Smith got down well to save.
Blues went into the last 15 minutes of the half still shading it in terms of chances and dominance, though no further clear-cut chances would come before the break. All to play for in the second 45.
Half Time: Northampton Town 0-0 Southend United
Back to the action and within the first two minutes, Southend United were behind as Thompson gave away a free kick on the edge. Taylor's set piece was blocked into the path of McCourt who's shot from just outside the area was parried by Oxley into the path of O'Toole who fired home.
It went from bad to worse for Blues on 50 minutes as Referee Ross Joyce awarded the Cobblers a penalty as Demetriou brought down Anderson. Southend were then to receive further punishment as Demetriou was sent off the challenge and Revell converted the spot kick; 2-0 to the home side.
Now up against it, the home side went in for the kill, and they appeared to all but end the contest as a superb free kick from Taylor, to the right of the goal, sailed past Oxley and made it 3-0 to Northampton just before the hour mark.
Wordsworth was brought on to the field after that goal, his first appearance since March as Southend looked for a route back into the game.
Northampton were the one's who looked most likely to score the next though, making the most of their one-man advantage as O'Toole nearly nodded in a fourth on 68'.
Cox and Inniss were introduced to the field in place of Barrett and Mooney on 70 minutes as an attempt to cause problems to the Cobblers with the aerial presence of Inniss and the tenacity of Cox.
The more Blues pressed, the more gaps were left at the back and 11-man Northampton bagged a fourth as Anderson unmarked at the back post was picked out and dispatched comfortably with a low drive on 78 minutes.
The Cobblers, with the job done, managed to see out the match to send Blues home empty-handed.
BLUES XI | Oxley, White, Coker, Thompson, Barrett (c), Mooney, McLaughlin, Atkinson, McGlashan, Leonard, Demetriou.
SUBS | Wordsworth, O'Neill, Cox, King, Smith, Inniss, Ferdinand.
NORTHAMPTON TOWN XI | Smith, Moloney, Buchanan (c), Anderson, Diamond, Zakuani, Revell, McCort, Hoskins, O'Toole, Taylor.
SUBS | Byrom, Richards, Gorre, Beautyman, Nyatanga, Cornell, Hooper.