REPORT | Southend 3-1 Scunthorpe
PHIL BROWN marked his 200th game as Southend boss with a vital 3-1 win against league leaders Scunthorpe United thanks to goals from Marc-Antoine Fortune, Simon Cox and Ryan Leonard.
Graham Alexander’s Scunthorpe couldn’t have envisioned the afternoon would turn out the way it did after seeing his side take the lead after just five minutes through Murray Wallace.
The Blues responded superbly and deservedly levelled when Simon Cox’s lofted pass found Marc-Antoine Fortune at the far post to head in from close range.
Two goals in five second half minutes won the game for Southend and it was the introduction of Jermaine McGlashan that proved the catalyst as within a minute of him coming on his cross found Simon Cox who bundled home.
Minutes later the Blues made the points safe as Ryan Leonard prodded a Ben Coker cross into the bottom corner before Scunthorpe’s misery was compounded when Neal Bishop was shown a straight red card late on.
It was a thoroughly deserved win for the Blues and was the perfect tonic for Phil Brown after his side suffered “absolute humiliation” in the reverse fixture back in September which Scunthorpe won 4-0.
But early on at Roots Hall, Southend were put on back foot again when Graham Alexander’s league leaders took the lead after just five minutes.
Ted Smith came to punch a Duane Holmes free kick but got nowhere near the ball, allowing Neal Bishop to head onto the crossbar before Murray Wallace headed in the rebound from close range.
It was far from an ideal start for the home side but Southend responded well forcing a couple of corners and creating a couple of decent chances for Anthony Wordsworth and Jason Demetriou.
And after weathering the Blues storm Scunthorpe had a couple of openings of their own with Josh Morris’ effort inside the area being deflected over the bar before Ivan Toney’s acrobatic bicycle kick went straight into the hands of Smith.
Southend responded by going straight up the other end and some good hold up play by Marc-Antoine Fortune allowed the striker to smash a low cross across goal which Demetriou just couldn’t get a touch on to divert towards goal.
Simon Cox had a great chance to bring Southend level as he was slid in by Wordsworth only to slice wide, but Cox made up for that miss by setting up Fortune for the equaliser just before the break.
Great play down the left from the Blues allowed Cox to get goal-side of the Iron defence and loft the ball towards the far post where Fortune was on hand to head in from close range and bring Southend level before the interval.
Despite going behind early the Blues had been the better side in the first half and they continued that in the second period as Wordsworth played Fortune in with the front-man seeing his low strike saved by the feet of Daniels.
Chances for both sides were proving few and far between but Southend had a great chance to take the lead after Coker’s cross couldn’t be gathered by Daniels. The ball eventually fell to the feet of Wordsworth who agonisingly sliced over.
With 66 minutes on the clock Phil Brown brought new-signing Theo Robinson on for his second debut for the Blues, replacing goal-scorer Fortune as Southend went in search of a winner.
But it was Scunthorpe who had a great chance to go back in front when the ball was cut back to the edge of the area towards sub Matt Crooks who placed his shot just wide with Smith motionless.
Jermaine McGlashan was introduced with 15 minutes to go after missing the Fleetwood draw through suspension and he made an immediate impact by setting up Cox to put the Blues in front.
McGlashan used his pace to storm beyond Scott Wiseman with his cross finding Cox whose prod at goal took a deflection before crawling over the line to give Southend the lead against the league leaders.
And Southend made the points safe by grabbing a third in the final 10 minutes of the game through midfielder Ryan Leonard. After Cox saw his effort blocked away for a corner the ball was sent into the box by Coker with Leonard prodding into the bottom corner.
Scunthorpe’s miserable afternoon at Roots Hall was then compounded when Neal Bishop was shown a straight red card after squaring up to Demetriou as Brown marked his 200th game as Blues boss with a vital win.
Blues XI | Smith, Coker, Wordsworth, Thompson, Timlin (McGlashan 75’), Cox, Atkinson, Fortune (Robinson 66’), Leonard, Demetriou, Ferdinand (C). Subs Not Used: Oxley, White, O’Neill, Amos, Nouble.
Scunthorpe United XI | Daniels, Wiseman, Wallace, Dawson (C) (Adelakun 79’), Morris, Bishop, Toffolo, Holmes (Crooks 46’), Goode, Toney, Davies (Hopper 63’). Subs Not Used: Mirfin, Anyon, Townsend, Ness.
Referee: Robert Madley
Assistants: James Mainwaring & Harry Lennard
Fourth Official: Michael Thorpe
Southend United: Marc-Antoine Fortune 39’, Simon Cox 76’, Ryan Leonard 81’
Scunthorpe United: Murray Wallace 5’
Southend United: Michael Timlin 56’, Ryan Leonard 84’
Scunthorpe United: Murray Wallace 8’, Duane Holmes 41’, Stephen Dawson 45+1’, Ivan Toney 90+2’
Southend United: None
Scunthorpe United: Neal Bishop 84’