REPORT | Coventry 0-2 Southend
by Scott Hatley
The Blues ran out comfortable 2-0 winners away at Coventry City with first half goals from Nile Ranger and Ryan Leonard the difference at the Ricoh Arena.
Phil Brown made five changes off the back of Saturday’s defeat to Bristol Rovers, including bringing in Nile Ranger who opened the scoring within two minutes after being set up by Theo Robinson.
Southend then doubled their lead midway through the first half when Ryan Leonard sent his 30-yard free-kick flying into the back of the net, albeit via a huge deflection.
The Blues backline were barely troubled by their hosts who are cut adrift at the bottom of League One, with their only real effort on goal coming from Callum Reilly who didn’t trouble Ted Smith.
The second half passed without incident as Southend seemed content to see the game out, picking up three points to take them within one of Millwall who sit in the final play-off position.
The win was the least that Phil Brown could have expected from his side against a team that were staring down the barrel of relegation to League Two.
After the disappointment of Saturday’s defeat to Bristol Rovers, Brown made five changes to his Southend side for the visit to the league’s basement club.
John White, Stephen McLaughlin, Theo Robinson, Ryan Inniss and Nile Ranger all came in to replace Adam Thompson, Jason Demetriou, Michael Timlin, Simon Cox and Marc-Antoine Fortune.
Brown would have wanted to see a reaction from his side after Saturday and right from the off the Blues showed their intent with Anthony Wordsworth shooting just wide after only 17 seconds.
And It wasn’t much later before Southend took the lead, scoring in front of the 449 travelling Blues fans, as Nile Ranger put the visitors in front in the second minute.
Theo Robinson’s shoulder charge on Jordan Turnbull allowed him to steal the ball and carry it into the penalty area where he picked out Ranger for a simple side-foot finish from 12-yards out.
The early goal was the response that Brown was looking for from his side and the Blues doubled their advantage midway through the half through a superb free-kick from Ryan Leonard.
After winning the free kick himself, Leonard was teed up by Anthony Wordsworth and rifled the ball into the back of the net from 30-yards, with the help of a deflection, to put Southend 2-0 in front.
The Coventry City fans were getting increasingly frustrated with their side as gasps and groans echoed around the half-empty Ricoh Arena, with the Sky Blues being greeted by boos as the half time whistle blew.
Coventry began the second half with Callum Reid sending a weak shot into the gloves of Ted Smith before Dion Kelly-Evans went into the book for a heavy challenge on Ben Coker.
Apart from Reid’s effort, Southend’s defence had barely been tested and Robinson came close to putting the game to bed as he shot on the turn, only for Lee Burge to get down sharply to his left.
The rest of the second half passed by with neither Smith nor Burge having much to deal with as the Blues saw the game out content with a 2-0 score-line and a clean-sheet.
Coventry City XI | Burge, Turnbull (K Thomas 46’), Bigirimana (G Thomas 62’), Clarke (C), Reilly, Beavon, Rawson, Tudgay, Haynes, Kelly-Evans, Stevenson. Subs Not Used: Charles-Cook, Stokes, Lameiras, Reid, Gadzhev
Blues XI | Smith, White, Coker, Wordsworth, McLaughlin, Atkinson (Nouble 84’), Leonard, Robinson (McGlashan 78’), Inniss, Ferdinand (C), Ranger (Fortune 67’). Subs Not Used: Bishop, O’Neill, Mooney, Amos
Referee: John Busby
Assistants: Ian Dudley & Joe Simpson
Fourth Official: Joe Clark
Coventry City: None
Southend United: Nile Ranger 2’, Ryan Leonard 23’
Coventry City: None
Southend United: Dion Kelly-Evans 52’