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Match Reports

Match Report: Southend 2-0 Bradford

18 August 2018

Blues’ striking partnership of Tom Hopper and Simon Cox headed Southend to their first league win of the season as Chris Powell’s side beat Bradford City 2-0 at Roots Hall.

The Blues were fully deserving of the win having controlled the game from the off, creating a number of chances in the first-half without being able to break through the Bantams' defences.  

Southend continued to apply the pressure in the second-half and got their just rewards when Tom Hopper headed Blues in front, nodding in a Michael Kightly cross.

Four minutes later and Southend doubled their lead when Kightly and Ben Coker combined down the left to clip in a ball for Simon Cox to head beyond Richard O’Donnell.

Cox went within the width of the crossbar of grabbing his second and Blues’ third when he hit the woodwork following a swift counter-attacking move from the home side.

However, the damage had already been done with those two goals before the hour mark as Southend claimed their first win of the campaign.

It was a performance and a result that Chris Powell had seen coming having played so well in their two previous league encounters against Doncaster Rovers and Plymouth Argyle.

Despite having had the highest amount of shots in the whole of League One, Blues only managed a point from those two encounters and they were desperate for a win to get their season going.

Blues boss Powell named the same starting line-up that drew against Argyle last weekend and his Southend side made a bright start at Roots Hall in their attempt to get a first win of the new season.

A couple of early corners lead to Timothee Dieng having a half chance to score against his former club as he headed over the crossbar, before a low free-kick from Ben Coker minutes later was easily saved by goalkeeper Richard O’Donnell.

Stephen McLaughlin flashed a shot just wide of O’Donnell’s left-hand post as Southend continued to press, before Mark Oxley was called into action for the first time in the game, palming away a stinging effort from Eoin Doyle.

Southend had had 10 more shots than anyone else in League One in their opening two games and their shot count continued to rise as Jason Demetriou played a neat one-two with Tom Hopper only for the defender’s low shot to screw wide of the target.

The chances continued to flow for Blues who showed plenty of threat, without forcing O’Donnell into meaningful action, with efforts from Hopper, McLaughlin and Sam Mantom all missing the target as the game edged towards the interval.

Blues briefly thought they had broken the deadlock before the break however when Hopper tapped in from close range after a deflected effort from McLaughlin, but those celebrations were short-lived as the goal was ruled out by the linesman’s flag.

Southend had been punished for not taking their chances on the opening day against Doncaster, but Bradford wasn’t afforded that opportunity as Blues maintained their momentum and would end up scoring twice in quick succession to put themselves in control of the contest.

Bradford replaced their right-back at the break and it proved to be costly as both Southend goals came from the Blues left, with the first goal coming courtesy of the head of Hopper who nodded in a looping cross from Michael Kightly.

Four minutes later and Southend’s lead was doubled after another cross from the left. This time the ball in came from the overlapping Coker who found the head of Simon Cox, with the striker powering the ball home to turn Southend’s dominance into a deserved two-goal lead.

Blues looked rampant going forward and could well have made it three had Cox’s dink over O’Donnell not come off the face of the crossbar, almost putting the gloss on a flowing Southend counter-attack involving Demetriou and Kightly.

Having been second best throughout, the visitors sparked into life late on to try and force a nervy end to proceedings and they had a goal disallowed for offside after Doyle rolled the ball into an empty net following a fumble from Oxley.

Substitute Ellis Hudson then went clean through on goal in the final 10 minutes but he wasn’t able to get beyond Oxley, whose slightest on the ball allowed Southend to clear their lines and help Blues claim their first clean-sheet of the season to go with their first win.

Blues XI: Oxley (C), Coker, Turner, Kightly (Hendrie 90’), Dieng, Hopper (Klass 90+3’), Cox (Robinson 76’), McLaughlin, Mantom, Demetriou, White. Subs Not Used: Bishop, Bwomono, Kyprianou, McCoulsky

Bradford City XI: O’Donnell, Riley (Mellor 46’), Chicksen, McGowan, O’Conner, Scannell, Doyle, Payne (Gibson 57’), Akpan (Miller 62’), Colville, Wright (C). Sub Not Used: Wilson, Knight-Percival, Wood, Hudson

Referee: Tom Nield

Assistants: Andrew Aylott & Matthew Lee

Fourth Official: Stephen Brown

Scorers:

Southend United: Tom Hopper 52’, Simon Cox 56’

Bradford City: None

Yellow Cards:

Southend United: Timothee Dieng 36’

Bradford City: Anthony O’Connor 85’

Attendance: 6,295 (400 away)


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