Blues beat Portsmouth 3-1 at the weekend, take a look at what the media had to say following Chris Powell's five game unbeaten run as Southend Manager...
A BRACE from right-back Jason Demetriou saw Southend United secure a fourth win in five games with a 3-1 victory against Portsmouth at Roots Hall.
Demetriou scored twice after an own goal from Matt Clarke had given Blues the lead.
And the defender’s brace also saw him move to the top of the scoring charts with eight goals for the season.
Portsmouth wasted an excellent early chance to take the lead when Conor Chaplin charged down an attempted clearance from Ben Coker and got in ahead of Anton Ferdinand only to send his effort wide of the right post.
But, after surviving the early scare, the Shrimpers hit back to take the lead in just the fifth minute when Shayon Harrison showed neat feet inside the penalty area which led to Portsmouth defender Matt Clarke firing the ball into his own net from 12 yards out as he attempted to make a challenge.
The Shrimpers remained on top and doubled their lead in the 12th minute when Simon Cox’s left wing cross fell to Stephen McLaughlin at the far post.
The Irishman then rolled an invited pass back into the path of Demetriou who fired a fine 20 yard shot into the left hand side of the North Bank net.
Moments later, Dru Yearwood – who was lining up on his 18th birthday – fired inches wide of the left post from the edge of the penalty area before a long range effort from Cox was gathered by Portsmouth goalkeeper Luke McGee at the second attempt.
However, with 36 minutes on the clock, Portsmouth got back into the game when Jamal Lowe's right wing cross found Brett Pitman at the far post who played it back across for Gareth Evans to tap home from inside the six yard box.
Evans picked up an injury while scoring and was immediately replaced by Connor Ronan before Blues hit back with Freddie Ladapo heading McLaughlin’s right wing cross straight on McGee on the stroke of half-time.
But, with 63 minutes on the clock, Portsmouth were reduced to 10 men when Nathan Thompson was shown a straight red card by referee Lee Probert for a late and high challenge on Ben Coker.
Shortly after the midfielder’s dismissal, Harrison wasted a great chance to put Blues 3-1 in front as he headed Michael Timlin’s left wing cross wide of the right post from 12 yards.
Moments later and, with 74 minutes on the clock, Blues boss Chris Powell made his first change of the afternoon as Marc-Antoine Fortune replaced Ladapo in attack.
The new look Shrimpers soon came close to extending their lead when a low effort from Cox was blocked by the legs of McGee before the visitors replied with Lowe flashing a powerful shot across the face of goal.
But the hosts stayed solid and made sure of their win when Yearwood charged forward and teed up Demetriou who netted with a neatly controlled finish from 10 yards
Chris Powell’s purple patch in the Southend hot seat continues after his Shrimpers side trounced ten-man Pompey, on Saturday.
Since taking over barely three weeks ago, Southend have gleaned an incredible thirteen points from five games.
On a brilliantly, sunny afternoon Jason Demetriou bagged a double, after Matt Clarke own-goaled early doors. Gareth Evans’s first-half proved academic, before Nathan Thompson was red-carded in the second period.
The visitors, with only a solitary win in 2018, saw Conor Chaplin waste a ‘goalden’ chance after only two minutes, slotting wide, under pressure from Anton Ferdinand, from Evans’s pass.
Southend then made Pompey pay, only four minutes later, as Shayon Harrison forced an error from Christian Burgess, and the ball spun almost in slow-motion over a stranded Luke McGhee.
With barely twelve minutes gone, Burgess was again at fault after stumbling and losing possession from a Michael Timlin long ball. From Ben Coker’s throw-in, Simon Cox was allowed too much time and space for Stephen McLaughlin to tee-up Demetriou, who literally picked his spot, beating McGhee - still to make a save - through a sea of bodies.
The rampant Blues should then have put the game out if reach, only two minutes later, Cox set up the promising Yearwood - celebrating his 18th birthday - who curled an effort a cigarette paper’s width wide.
With Southend comfortably soaking up Pompey pressure, seven-goal Cox then had a go himself, on 27 minutes, and the nervous McGhee almost spilled the drive into his own goal
Clearly happier with the bumpy playing surface, Southend were content to sit on their lead, but took their foot off the gas, on 37 minutes, when Timlin allowed Jamal Lowe to run diagonally and cross for Evans to bundle home, despite Michael Turner and Demetriou having opportunities to clear.
Three minutes before the interval, after patient build-up play between Coker and Harrison, McLaughlin missed a presentable chance - blasting his 18-yard effort into the ground and wide.
The chances continued to arrive for both sides. Turner did well to deny Chaplin a leveller on 44 minutes, before, two minutes into stoppage time Freddie Ladapo completely missed the target, with a free header, from a towering McLaughlin cross.
Pompey were quick out of the traps after the turnaround, and Chaplin - a one-time Liverpool target - went close with a smart half-volley, before dangerman Lowe, at full-pelt, flashed an effort across the face of Mark Oxley’s goal.
Despite enjoying a protracted spell of pressure, with a quiet Brett Pitman wasting a 61st minute chance from a superb Lowe lofted pass, Pompey found themselves down to ten men - barely three minutes later - when Thompson went over the top of the ball and caught Coker with a crude challenge. Referee, Lee Probert, soon pulled out a red card.
Now numerically superior, Southend should have been home and hosed, but Harrison missed the target from Timlin’s pin-point cross, before Cox brought a fine save from McGhee.
But, Pompey still pressed for an unlikely equaliser, and nine minutes from time, Lowe lost his marker and fired an inviting ball across the face of goal.
Having had to endure long spells of Pompey domination, it was somewhat against the run-of-play, on 84 minutes, that man-of-the-match, Demetriou should net an amazing eighth of the season, after running on to and finishing Yearwood’s slide-rule pass, to - at finally - make the Blues’ numerical advantage count, with a deflected effort.
A philosophical Powell admitted: “We didn’t play well - but it has been a long week. Getting back from Bury at 4-30am didn’t help, but I can’t complain as it seems like the players are listening to me.”
He admitted: “It was a fortuitous first goal, but a well-worked second. We then fell asleep for their goal and it was just about game management. Michael Turner and Anton Ferdinand played very well with their defending.”
“I’m really proud of this football club this evening - we’ve beaten two of the top sides in this division in seven days - and we’ve scored three in each of my first three home games here.”
The well-grounded Powell concluded: “We just take each game on its merits - I’m only thinking about Oldham next Saturday (kick-off 3pm).”
Matchwinner, Demetriou, admitted: “It wasn’t the best game today, but we’re winning ugly - and we’ll take that. But, it’s a confidence thing and at the moment it seems easy to pick up the three points.”
He concluded: “For my first goal it was a harder skill to net with pace - instead of just leathering it, but Dru Yearwood did well to free me up for the second. I’m claiming it anyway!”
Losing boss, Kenny Jackett added: “We’re giving ourselves mountains to climb. The goals we’re conceding are not good ones and we were brittle at the back on Saturday.”
A brace from right-back Jason Demetriou saw Southend secure a 3-1 win against Portsmouth at Roots Hall.
The Cyprus international took his season's tally to eight with two more strikes as unbeaten Shrimpers boss Chris Powell secured a fourth win in five games.
Portsmouth - who had midfielder Nathan Thompson sent off in the 64th minute - gifted their hosts an early lead when Matt Clarke fired the past his own goalkeeper when an attempting to challenge Shayon Harrison.
A resurgent Southend doubled their lead in the 12th minute when Demetriou blasted home a Stephen McLaughlin pass from 20 yards but the visitors got back in the game in the 36th minute when Gareth Evans tapped home from close range.
However, Portsmouth's hopes were hit midway through the second half when Thompson was dismissed for a late challenge on Ben Coker.
And Southend were able to make the most of their extra man six minutes from time when Dru Yearwood charged forward and teed up Demetriou to net with a calm finish from 12 yards.
Southend chairman Ron Martin was once in a Great Britain bobsleigh squad at the Winter Olympics, so he knows all about things going downhill fast.
And nearly four decades on from that icy adventure, it was Martin's football club in freefall, losing eight matches out of nine and plummeting towards the League One relegation zone faster than a bobsled without a brake man.
The property developer was desperate for somebody to halt the slide.
Enter Chris Powell, out of the game for 10 months since a spell as Steve McClaren's assistant at Derby, but a manager with League One pedigree. Powell's Charlton won the division with a staggering 101 points in 2011-12.
On top of that, Southend fans revere Powell. He played for the Essex club in their 1990s pomp, when the Roots Hall faithful would serenade their left back with Wiggle It by 2 In A Room in honour of his hip-swivelling runs down the wing.
Powell smiles broadly at the memory. He has the biggest grin in football. 'Whenever I've seen Southend fans throughout my career the goodwill has always been there, because I was a player they liked,' said the 48-year-old.
'But as a manager it's different. There's a risk with coming back. I have to enhance my legacy by doing things right for the club now. And if I get it wrong, I'm in the firing line.'
So far he is getting everything right. Saturday's 3-1 win over Portsmouth was Powell's fourth victory in five matches since replacing Phil Brown and Pompey were overrun at times by a team who flood forward with intensity. Powell admires the high-energy style of Sean Dyche's Burnley and it shows.
Right back Jason Demetriou scored two of Southend's goals and Powell substituted him in stoppage time so he could enjoy a standing ovation. It was a typical Powell moment. 'A nice gesture, I appreciated that a lot,' said the man of the match.
In the directors' box, Martin lapped it all up. And why not? Powell's appointment is looking like a masterstroke.
Pompey suffered a nightmare afternoon in Southend, with injuries and suspensions adding to a 3-1 defeat.
Matt Clarke’s own-goal and a Jason Demetriou strike saw the hosts roar into an early lead at Roots Hall.
Gareth Evans reduced the deficit before the break, only to pick up a knock and have to be withdrawn.
Hopes of a comeback were then dashed in the second half, as Nathan Thompson was sent off before Brett Pitman also limped down the tunnel and Demetriou added a third for the Shrimpers.
Kenny Jackett stuck with the same side that were narrowly beaten by Blackburn on home soil earlier in the week.
And it looked to be a good decision as the visitors came flying out of the traps in the warm Essex sunshine.
They should have broken the deadlock when Evans fed Conor Chaplin in the box, but the striker could only fire narrowly past the post.
Instead it was Southend who took the lead against the run of play – and thanks to a large slice of fortune – on six minutes.
Anton Walkes was caught in possession by Shayon Harrison and when Clarke tried to nick the ball from him, he could only succeed in burying the ball into the net.
That saw the confidence levels switch, with Southend unsurprisingly lifted and the Blues looking stunned.
The hosts soon capitalised on that by doubling their advantage, as Demetriou collected a pass from Stephen McLaughlin and lashed the ball home.
They almost added a third goal moments later, but Dru Yearwood’s drive flew inches wide of Luke McGee’s post.
It failed to dampen the spirits of the travelling fans packed into the North Stand, who kept backing their side.
But they were not given much reward, as Pompey struggled to find any kind of fluency going forward.
They managed to reduce the deficit on 36 minutes, however, thanks to good work from Jamal Lowe on the right.
He sent in a teasing cross and Pitman was able to turn it back into the centre, where EVANS was waiting to bundle the ball over the line.
Unfortunately, the winger got injured in the process of scoring and limped off to be replaced by Connor Ronan.
There might have been a leveller in stoppage-time, but Pitman could not quite get on the end of another dangerous delivery from Lowe.
It was Southend who had the final say of the first half, though, and Freddie Lapado should have done better than divert a free header straight at McGee.
Half Time: Southend 2 Pompey 1
Chaplin had a speculative strike that only narrowly missed the target just after the action got back underway.
A Southend break then looked concerning for the Blues, only for McLaughlin to over-hit a pass and the danger to subside.
Lowe was looking lively at the other end of the pitch, but was unable to find the net from an acute angle after leaving his marker on the turf.
It was the visitors now looking the more ambitious side, although they were struggling to test Mark Oxley in the Shrimpers goal.
But Pompey’s task was made much tougher when Thompson caught Ben Coker with a late challenge on 64 minutes and was shown a straight red card by referee Lee Probert.
It almost – and really should have – got worse for them, as Harrison glanced Michael Timlin’s cross wide from a few yards out.
More bad news was just around the corner, though, with Pitman limping off to be replaced by Oli Hawkins.
Southend came close to making their numerical advantage count when McGee failed to claim McLaughlin’s cross.
But the keeper redeemed himself with a superb save using his legs from Simon Cox’s ferocious follow-up.
Lowe was looking the biggest threat for the Blues and after twisting his way into space on the right, the winger’s cross somehow evaded everyone as it flew out of play.
Southend wrapped up the points on 84 minutes, however, as Demetriou collected a pass from Yearwood and rolled the ball home.
It was undoubtedly a left-field sight to witness a man more associated with Premier League riches and swagger in a humble moment of peaceful and introverted thought.
Yet it’s Pompey’s play-off hopes which were desperately left in need of some divine intervention, after going to a typical League One cathedral and being handed a righteous lesson in third-tier football.
Southend’s defender had retreated to a quiet corner of a virtually unoccupied Southend press room for inspiration in the pages of the good book before kick-off.
Within 12 minutes of a defensive collapse of biblical proportions, it was Kenny Jackett’s men left needing to repent their sins for their failings at the back.
Jackett’s gospel this season has preached stoicism, with the Blues boss sacrificing plenty of the attacking freedom Paul Cook afforded his team in his Fratton tenure in search of clean sheets.
The shut outs seems a distant promised land at present, though, with it 12 games and 65 days since that was achieved against Bury on December 16.
And the preventable manner of the goals is what is now seeing frustration escalate.
Kenny Jackett doesn’t do wrath. Outside the confines of the dressing room, the Pompey boss maintains an analytical approach and control of his emotions which taps into the heart of his managerial ethos.
The manner in which he dissected his side’s failings at the back, though, with a step-by-step take-down spoke of man whose patience had snapped.
Inability to stop crosses at source, physical weakness and good, old fashioned passion for the defensive job were stop-off points for Jackett in a concerted and stinging assessment of his players.
‘We’ve given ourselves a mountain to climb,’ said Jackett, who is publicly sticking to the position his team can make the end-of-season League One jamboree.
The gap, somewhat surprisingly, is a very bridgeable five points with 13 games remaining of the campaign. That’s one thing - whether Pompey for a second look like a team capable of producing a winning run to make it happen is quite another.
The 1,920 fans who made the trip to Essex in the winter sunshine were given a clear view that doesn’t look on the cards for a second at present.
Southend’s sixth-minute opener made for cringe-inducing viewing, as Anton Walkes gifted possession to Shayon Harrison, before Matt Clarke’s botched efforts to rescue the situation ended with the defender lobbing the ball past the helpless Luke McGee and into the net.
Six minutes later, and two-goal right-back Jason Demetriou was afforded the time and space to guide his side’s second beyond McGee’s despairing dive from 20 yards.
It was the lack of pressure on the lively Stephen McLaughlin which allowed the dangerous Demetriou the space to make his game-killing intervention.
It’s clear the evidence of Pompey’s costly defensive lapses are now becoming too significant to ignore.
There was no such shrouding where Jackett’s men came up short this time. The view the Blues had punched their weight in general play, against a foe who’d turned over the division’s obvious class act in Wigan the previous week, was misleading.
After all, the two-goal head start meant a rejuvenated Shrimpers side under Chris Powell were happy to concede possession to their rival.
Yet, there was no suggestion their foe would make significant chances arise from their time with ball at feet.
Conor Chaplin, given the second start on the bounce he craves, threatened after just 55 seconds. It was the kind of sight of goal you’d fancy the little assassin to make the most of, but his right-footed effort passed him by as he pulled the trigger while slightly off balance.
Aside from Evans’ maiden league goal of the 2017-18 campaign in the 36th minute, it was a job to come up with much in the way of decent chances for Pompey.
Chaplin went close three minutes after the restart with a speculative effort from 25 yards.
Then Pompey’s standout creative influence in Jamal Lowe dragged an angled drive not too far wide with 10 minutes remaining. Sub Oli Hawkins’ late sight of goal came with the game gone following Demetriou’s second, and a Shrimpers’ side still unbeaten under their new manager home and hosed.
That, though, was pretty much it in terms of Pompey’s attacking threat.
Yet, this latest verse of the Blues’ season was to develop into a parable for the cost of the relative lack of January business.
That’s what Pompey fans are now referencing as Jackett’s squad took a costly hit to his numbers. Losing three key men in the space of 33 minutes was unfortunate by any standards, but it now heaps focus on the lack of outfield strengthening on deadline day.
It was Evans who was to first depart the action clinging his hamstring, damage picked up as he made sure he was the man to bundle home Brett Pitman’s ball back across the face of goal from Lowe’s cross.
Then came Nathan Thompson’s 64th-minute lunge on Ben Coker.
The Shrimpers captain’s delayed writhing on the turf spoke of a degree of gamesmanship, yet there could be no doubt the dismissal was warranted.
So another blow for Jackett’s squad, as the man who has impressed in his midfield enforcer’s role of late begins a three-game suspension at Fleetwood.
But there was still time for Pompey’s creaking options to be dealt another significant hit.
We await to see the extent of the issue behind Pitman’s 69th-minute exit - another victim to his hamstring giving way.
With Matty Kennedy missing as a result of an ankle problem, it’s a worrying list of injuries Jackett’s squad can scarcely contain.
The Pompey boss may have publicly insisted these issues are simply a football reality which will provide opportunities for others.
Yet, an afternoon to forget could well have the Blues repenting a lack of deadline-day strengthening over the next few weeks.