REPORT | Southend United 2-1 Oxford UnitedSouthend United made it two home wins on the bounce as a second half Anthony Wordsworth penalty sealed a 2-1 victory for Blues over Oxford United in Sky Bet League One.
Ryan Leonard gave the Blues an early lead with a superb strike inside the opening quarter of an hour from 25 yards before Hemmings levelled before the break.
The home side were not to be denied the win however, as Wordsworth converted from the spot with just over 15 minutes to play after Phil Edwards was adjudged to have handled in the box.
Phil Brown made three changes for this one with Anton Ferdinand, Ryan Inniss and Anthony Wordsworth coming in for John White, Adam Thompson and Will Atkinson.
After a bright start to the game, Blues fired themselves in front with a cracking 25-yard strike from Leonard on 12 minutes. The midfielder hit a first time volley from outside the area, which flashed past Eastwood and into the right corner to give his team an early lead - Stunning stuff from Lenny!
Wordsworth, who had missed a volley of his own minutes before Leonard's opener, tried his luck again on 20 minutes. The midfielder, making his first start since March, hit a low drive which just went narrowly wide of the left post.
Back came Oxford who hit a rasping shot of their own just past the post, courtesy of Maguire who picked the ball up from midway inside the Blues half and shot from 25-yards on 24 minutes.
McGlashan went close to doubling advantage just before the hour mark as Edwards was neatly dispossessed by Mooney. McGlashan then received it and drove towards the area before hitting a sweet left-footed strike which Eastwood had to stretch well to his right to save.
From one end to the other and Hemmings would be kicking himself he didn't level things up as Sercombe picked him out of the crowd from the right. The striker, with the goal looking inviting, could only head over from six-yards.
With both sides looking to create an opening to score a possibly decisive second goal, Jason Demetriou was a kick off the line away from bagging his first Blues goal, as he cut in from the right of the box and curled one past Eastwood, but Edwards was on hand who clip it to safety with just over five left to play.
Wordsworth would be first to go in the referee's notebook for simulation, but would soon be followed by U's skipper Lunsdstram for a late challenge.
With two minutes added time, Oxford put on the pressure and nearly levelled as Johnson's header who nodded off the line by Ferdinand. From the resulting corner they did get the equaliser as Hemmings struck with a header after Johnson crossed in after picking up the short corner.
Blues felt hard done by as there appeared to be a push on Coker in the area for the goal. Nothing given, and 1-1 it was at the break.
Half Time: Southend United 1-1 Oxford United
Ten minutes into the second period and Oxford were the ones knocking at the door. After a couple of dangerous crosses zipped across the six-yard box untouched, Hemmings fired over when seeing a sight of goal on 55'.
A couple more yellows were dished out by official Graham Horwood; Maguire for dissent and Mooney for a foul on Raglan. Maguire fresh from the book then tried his hand and hit a strong shot from 20-yards though was always rising over.
Although Blues were very much in the game, it was Oxford who were continuing to carve out the guilt-edged chances. Hemmings hit over as Oxley was left stranded out of his goal on 64' and then Maguire brought out a terrific save from the Blues keeper soon after as his header was tipped over.
Back again came the U's after Ferdinand's header from the back was seized upon, Johnson was played in on the right, who cut in and looked to bend one into the far corner, and wasn't far off on 69 minutes.
On came O'Neill for McGlashan in an attempt to freshen up the Southend attack with twenty left to play. It worked a treat as he picked out Coker with a peach of a ball across-field to the left. Coker knocked it past his maker and had his cross blocked by the hand of Edwards - Penalty to Southend.
Up stepped Wordsworth, who coolly sent Eastwood the wrong way and slotted home to his left to regain the lead on 74 minutes.
The midfielder would then get a standing ovation as he left the field to be replaced by Atkinson on 82 minutes; richly deserved after a terrific shift back in front of the home crowd.
One further booking for Oxford as Raglan was cautioned for dissent following a foul on Mooney on the wing. The resulting free kick was cleared out but played back out wide to Coker on the left, the full-back played a deep cross to Mooney at the back post, who nodded it back across goal to Barrett who touched it down and saw his shot saved by Eastman with just over five to play.
Oxford, refusing to lie down, were denied excellently by Oxley on 87' - Sub Thomas shot was stopped from close range magnificently to keep Blues in the lead.
Blues would have six minutes added time to hold on, but they nearly stretched their advantage as Demetriou was denied by Eastman from 25-yards, who got up and saved well to his left as Blues countered.
The Southend back-line soaked up some late pressure to see out a timely 2-1 win! Next up Peterborough United at home on Saturday 1 October.
SOUTHEND UNITED XI | Oxley, Coker, Wordsworth, Barrett (C), Mooney, McLaughlin, McGlashan, Leonard, Demetriou, Inniss, Ferdinand.
SUBS | White, Thompson, O'Neill, Cox, Atkinson, King, Smith.
OXFORD UNITED XI | Eastwood, Skarz, Lundstram (C), Sercombe, Maguire, Hemmings, Edwards, Rothwell, Raglan, Johnson, Dunkley.
SUBS | Buchel, Macdonald, Ruffels, taylor, long, Ledson, Thomas.