REPORT | Chesterfield 0-4 Southend
by Scott Hatley
Southend returned to winning ways in emphatic fashion with a convincing 4-0 win over 10-man Chesterfield at the Proact Stadium.
The Blues took the lead after a quarter of an hour when Will Atkinson was brought down in the area by Thorsten Stuckmann, allowing Simon Cox to send the goalkeeper the wrong way from the spot.
Having gone behind the home side then had to go the entire second half with just 10 men after Dion Donohue was shown a straight red card for a high tackle on Jason Demetriou just before the break.
The Blues were rampant in the second half and made their numerical advantage count as they rolled in three more goals without reply to ensure the points.
Wordsworth grabbed the Blues’ second when he found the bottom corner after being picked out by a cross from John White.
Cox then grabbed his second and Southend’s third as Nile Ranger’s blocked effort fell to Southend’s top scorer to smash home the rebound.
And within a minute of being brought on as a sub, Marc-Antoine Fortune added some gloss to the score by sliding the ball between the legs of Stuckmann in front of the Southend fans.
With the Easter weekend looking vital in Southend’s quest to make the play-off places, they made the perfect start with MK Dons awaiting them on Monday afternoon at Roots Hall.
Prior to the trip to Chesterfield, Phil Brown had numerous injury concerns with it being reported that up to nine players could be missing.
Brown though would have been pleased to make just the two changes to his side that lost to Charlton with Anthony Wordsworth and Nile Ranger coming in for Luke Amos and Theo Robinson.
Southend began the brighter and Stephen McLaughlin had a half chance deflected wide inside the first five minutes before the Blues had a loud handball shout turned down in the area.
But minutes later Southend did have a chance to take the lead from the spot when referee Ross Joyce pointed for a penalty after Will Atkinson was brought down by Thorsten Stuckmann.
Simon Cox took the honours of taking the penalty kick, sending Stuckmann the wrong way and give Southend the lead that their early pressure had deserved.
The Spireites were in a desperate situation down at the foot of the table and they almost fell two goals behind when McLaughlin hit the net with a header only for it to be ruled out for offside.
Southend continued to frustrate the home side in the first half and it was starting to show in the players as both Tom Anderson and Dan Gardner picked up yellow cards for late tackles.
And their frustration appeared to boil over just before the break as a high foot from Dion Donohue caught Jason Demetriou in the chest, resulting in referee Joyce to brandish a straight red card.
Southend came out in the second half looking for a quick goal to press home their numerical advantage and Atkinson came close when his sweetly struck effort was blocked by Gardner.
Atkinson then had an even better chance when he linked well with Cox and was through on goal only to slip at the vital moment and skew his effort wide of the target.
Whilst the score remained 1-0, The Spireites were still in with a shout and they came close to grabbing a surprise equaliser when Paul McGinn’s wicked cross failed to pick out a blue shirt.
It was the home side’s best chance of the game and Southend punished them immediately by doubling their lead through Anthony Wordsworth just before the hour mark.
The midfielder’s run was picked out perfectly by a low cross from John White from the left, with Wordsworth sending the ball the other way to find the bottom corner and double Southend’s lead.
The Blues then made certain of the points minutes later as Nile Ranger’s strength allow him to get a shot away which was blocked by Stuckmann, only for Cox to follow up and smash home the rebound.
Southend were starting to run riot and less than a minute after being brought on as a substitute for Nile Ranger, Marc-Antoine Fortune slotted the ball between Stuckmann’s legs to make it four.
The 767 travelling Blues fans were enjoying their Good Friday in Derbyshire and Michael Timlin almost finished the game off with a spectacular effort from 40-yards which went just over the crossbar.
Southend though had done more than enough to earn their first win in three games ahead of the Easter Monday visit of MK Dons to Roots Hall.
Chesterfield XI | Stuckmann, McGinn, Jones, Hird (C), Gardner (Simons 60’), Dimaio, Donohue, Dennis (Ebanks-Blake 77’), Anderson, Maguire, Rowley (Grimshaw 71’). Subs Not Used: Fulton, Martinez, Mitchell, Wakefield
Blues XI | Walton, White, Wordsworth, Thompson, Timlin, Cox (Robinson 76’), McLaughlin, Atkinson (Hines 67’), Demetriou, Ferdinand (C), Ranger (Fortune 71’). Subs Not Used: Bexon, O’Neill, Amos, McGlashan
Referee: Ross Joyce
Assistants: Matthew Jones & Gareth Mellor
Fourth Official: Christopher Akers
Southend United: Simon Cox 15’, 66’, Anthony Wordsworth 58’, Marc-Antoine Fortune 72’
Chesterfield: Tom Anderson 19’, Dan Gardner 28’, Liam Grimshaw 80’
Southend United: Will Atkinson 53’
Chesterfield: Dion Donohue 44’
Southend United: None