Marc-Antoine Fortune’s first goal of the season was cancelled out by Jack Marriott’s tenth goal for Peterborough as Blues were made to settle for a point following a 1-1 draw at Roots Hall.
Both sides came into the short on confidence and it showed in a scrappy first half which Southend edged after Jack Baldwin’s clearance was charged down before Fortune slotted home.
Southend were pegged back early in the second half when the ball fell kindly to Jack Marriott no more than eight-yards out, beating Mark Oxley to make it double figures for him already this season.
Blues were indebted to Oxley for keeping the scores level after he pulled off a string of fine saves to stop Marcus Maddison twice before superbly saving Callum Chettle’s header.
Blues themselves also had chances to snatch all three points late on with Josh Wright forcing a brilliant fingertip save from Jonathan Bond as both teams had to settle for a draw.
The draw brought to an end to Southend’s recent losing run, but Phil Brown will no doubt feel it was two points dropped against a Posh side who now are without a win in four league matches.
Following on from Saturday’s defeat to Wigan, Blues made three changes to their line up with the suspended Jermaine McGlashan replaced by Stephen McLaughlin whilst Marc-Antoine Fortune and Simon Cox were paired up front.
Both sides came into the game in poor form with Blues shipping seven in two successive away defeats whilst Peterborough hadn’t won in four, including losing three in a row in the league.
In the early stages, you could see both sides were short of confidence and Blues almost made a calamitous start when Ryan Leonard’s heavy back-pass came close to ending in the back of the net when Mark Oxley sliced his clearance just wide for a corner.
Anything Southend could do, Peterborough could do better, and after Jack Baldwin’s attempt at a back-pass almost put Stephen McLaughlin through a second error from the Posh captain led to the opening goal.
Trying to clear the ball out from the back, Marc-Antoine Fortune charged Baldwin’s clearance down before checking onto his right foot and slotting the ball beyond Jonathan Bond to open the scoring.
It was a scrappy goal to go with a scrappy game, but Blues didn’t care one bit and within a minute of the restart they could have made it two when Simon Cox found space on the edge of the area but his shot lacked the power to trouble Bond in the Peterborough goal.
Wherever you seemed to look, Baldwin was in the thick of the action for Posh and having made the error that led to the goal he was then booked before having the visitors’ best chance of the half.
Following a foul by Jason Demetriou on former Blue Anthony Grant, Marcus Maddison’s swinging free-kick found the head of his captain 12-yards-out but his header failed to hit the mark.
Baldwin will know he should have done better with his headed effort but Jack Marriott had an even better opportunity early in the second half which he somehow managed to head wide after being found completely unmarked at the far post.
Marriott would make amends however by getting Posh back on terms just before the hour mark, mere seconds after Dru Yearwood had clattered to top of the crossbar up the other end for the home side.
Gwion Edwards’ cross appeared to come off Demetriou and fall kindly to the feet of Marriott in the centre of the penalty area before the former Luton man provided the finishing touch to score his tenth goal of the season and bring Peterborough level.
Phil Brown was incensed after the linesman awarded what should have been a Blues throw to Peterborough in the lead up to Posh’s equaliser, but Southend had more to worry about as the visitors now had the bit between their teeth and were pushing hard for a winner.
And if it wasn’t for two superb saves from Oxley the visitors could well have gone in front with the Blues stopper saving twice from Maddison, firstly getting down to his right to stop a low drive before pulling off an even better save minutes later to tip another Maddison effort wide.
In search of a winner of their own, Brown threw on Nile Ranger and Theo Robinson and the latter had a great chance almost immediately as Blues broke only for his effort to be saved by Bond after being teed up by Simon Cox.
Having been a scrappy first half, you couldn’t take your eyes off the game in the second half as both sides created superb chances to take all three points.
Demetriou got on the end of a Michael Timlin cross to force a reaction save out of Bond before the Peterborough ‘keeper pulled off a brilliant diving save to tip over Josh Wright’s long-range effort.
Oxley then had to produce a third top-drawer save as substitute Callum Chettle rose highest to head on goal only to see the Blues number one stop get a strong left hand to his goal-bound effort ensuring that both sides went home with a point.
Blues XI: Oxley, Wordsworth, Timlin, Fortune (Ranger 68’), Cox, McLaughlin (Robinson 68’), Yearwood, Leonard (C), Demetriou, Wright, White. Subs Not Used: Bishop, Hendrie, Ba, Klass, Bwomono
Peterborough XI: Bond, Hughes, Tafazolli, Baldwin (C), Edwards, Maddison, Marriott, Da Silva Lopes, Anderson (Chettle 78’), Taylor, Grant. Subs Not Used: O’Malley, Shephard, Forrester, Miller, Lloyd, Kanu
Referee: Kevin Johnson
Assistants: Andrew Laver & Leigh Crowhurst
Fourth Official: Alan Dale
Southend United: Marc-Antoine Fortune 10’
Peterborough United: Jack Marriott 55’
Southend United: Jason Demetriou 29’, Dru Yearwood 53’, Simon Cox 87’
Peterborough United: Jack Baldwin 20’, Leonardo Da Silva Lopes 84’