See what various sections of the media had to say about Blues' 2-1 defeat to Fleetwood Town last weekend...
SOUTHEND United slumped to an eighth defeat in nine games as FleetwoodTown secured a 2-1 triumph at Roots Hall.
The setback saw the Shrimpers slip to 18th in the League One table, just two points above the relegation zone to heap more pressure on the shoulders of the Shrimpers under-fire manager Phil Brown.
An uninspiring encounter was slow to get started but, with 12 minutes on the clock, Fleetwood came close to taking the lead when Ashley Hunter’s left wing free-kick was headed against the crossbar by Devante Cole.
After surviving the scare, Southend were forced into making a change in the 24th minute when Michael Turner limped off and was replaced by Stephen Hendrie.
After the break, Town left-back Amari’I saw a deflected 20 yard shot fly wide of the left post before the Shrimpers replied with Stephen McLaughlin having a powerful shot smothered by visiting goalkeeper Chris Neal.
But, after surviving the scare, Fleetwood broke the deadlock in the 57th minute, following a mistake from Anton Ferdinand.
The Blues skipper gave the ball away cheaply to Ashley Hunter who rolled a pass into the path of Paddy Madden.
The substitute striker brushed aside Ferdinand before teeing up Toumani Diagouraga who lifted the ball over the advancing Mark Oxley to open the scoring.
The visitors remained on top and doubled their lead in the 62nd minute when Kyle Dempsey played a through ball into the path of Madden who showed good strength before netting with a well-taken shot.
The Shrimpers responded by bringing on Norman Wabo in place of Simon Cox and the youngster almost netted when his swerving shot from 20 yards was parried away by Neal.
But, with 86 minutes on the clock, Blues got back into the game when a half cleared McLaughlin corner fell to Kightly whose deflected 20 yard shot looped into the left hand side of the net.
However, Southend were unable to conjure up a late equaliser as their struggles continued.
The pressure on Southend boss, Phil Brown, increased after second-half Toumani Diagouraga and Paddy Madden strikes sank the Shrimpers, last Saturday. Michael Kightly’s late strike was scant consolation in another forgettable home reverse.
A dire opening period saw Devante Cole go closest with a glancing header, from Ashley Hunter’s 22nd minute free-kick, before the Cod Army’s 12-goal striker saw a pot-shot blocked by sub, Stephen Hendrie - on for the unlucky Michael Turner, wholimped off.
Shot-shy Southend failed to force visiting keeper, Chris Neal, into a single save, with Stephen McLaughlin blazing his side’s only clear-cut opportunity high and wide seven minutes before the break.
Despite a brighter opening to the second-half, with McLaughlin, finally, bringing a smart save out of Neal, the major talking point - on 54 minutes - saw goalscorer, Diagouraga lunge into Michael Timlin with a two-footed tackle. Brown later insisted: “It was a red-card challenge. I’m not sure whether he slipped, but he went in with twelve studs showing. The referee was quick to produce a yellow card, under pressure from the opposing players.”
The new signing from divisional rivals, Plymouth Argyle, was extremely lucky to still be on the pitch and three minutes later was celebrating his début goal, from sub, Paddy Madden’s flick, following sloppy Anton Ferdinand play.
On 62 minutes the gloom descended further over Roots Hall, as Madden was all too easily allowed to net from close-range, after the home defence failed to deal with Kyle Dempsey’s flick.
Brown tried with an injection of pace, introducing Marc Antoine-Fortune, after 65 minutes, in place of skipper, Ferdinand.
But, the visitors - with their tails up - continued to ask all the questions, with Madden proving a handful for the bedraggled home back line, and just failed to connect with Lewis Coyle’s 81st minute cross.
Late Southend sub, Norman Wabo, tried his luck with seven minutes remaining, but Neal was equal to the youngster’s close-range snap-shot.
Kightly - with a wickedly deflected 20-yarder - at least gave the Shrimpers some late hope when he drilled home on 86 minutes, after Fleetwood failed to clear their lines from McLaughlin’s flag-kick.
Fleetwood secured a 2-1 win at Southend United to heap more pressure on Shrimpers' under-fire boss Phil Brown.
The defeat was Southend's eighth in nine games and saw them slip to within two points of the relegation zone.
Fleetwood came close to breaking the deadlock in the 12th minute when Devante Cole headed Ashley Hunter's left-wing free-kick against the crossbar from 12 yards.
But Town broke the deadlock in the 57th minute when a mistake from Southend skipper Anton Ferdinand resulted in substitute Paddy Madden teeing up debutante Toumani Diagouraga to fire past the advancing Shrimpers goalkeeper Mark Oxley.
Fleetwood doubled their lead in the 62nd minute when Kyle Dempsey rolled a pass into the path of Madden, who showed good strength before netting with a well-struck finish.
Southend hit back in the 86th minute with midfielder Michael Kightly scoring a deflected effort from 20 yards but it was not enough to prevent Fleetwood securing a fourth away win in succession.
Two goals on debut from Toumani Diagouraga and Paddy Madden made it three consecutive league away wins for Fleetwood Town with a 2-1 win over Southend United on Saturday.
Southend added a consolation late on through Michael Kightly’s deflected effort, but two goals in the space of five second half minutes were enough for victory.
Town asserted their dominance with an impressive display, which featured an inspired substitution from Uwe Rosler. Within five minutes of Madden’s introduction, the Irishman had scored one and assisted one, to help the Cod Army on their way to a brilliant victory.
Rosler made two changes from last Saturday’s 0-0 draw against LeicesterCity in the Emirates FA Cup, with Diagouraga making his FleetwoodTown debut in midfield, replacing George Glendon. Nathan Pond replaced Ashley Eastham at the back.
There was little action in a quiet opening period to the game, however Wes Burns’ nice piece of skill then shot – which was sprayed wide - marked the first chance of the game and more chances soon followed.
Next, there was a golden chance for Town to take the lead as a free kick was swung into the box and headed against the bar by Devante Cole. Markus Schwabl tried his luck with the rebound, but Southend were able to clear.
Kyle Dempsey took advantage of a mistake at the back with a piercing run towards goal that allowed Cole a shot from the lay off, which was blocked by Anton Ferdinand and ushered top safety.
Southend’s efforts were limited but Michael Timlin did see a long range chance fly high over the stand.
When Burns broke through the middle he had a great chance to open the scoring. With Dempsey to his left, Town were 2-on-1 against Ferdinand, but the defender ushered Burns towards the corner before he had the chance to pass, with backtracking home players able to clear the danger.
Such was the sluggishness of the first half, it took two minutes into the second for the first corner of the game to be awarded. Southend didn’t take advantage as Amari’i Bell cleared, but they were to come closer through Kightly’s free kick.
At the other end, Bell’s strike from outside the area was deflected wide.
The first shot on target in the match came through Stephen McLaughlin, as his weave into the area ended with an effort straight into the palms of Chris Neal.
Rosler introduced Madden into the action, replacing Wes Burns, as the Irishman joined Diagouraga in the debutant category.
This substitution proved to be inspired as the two combined instantly. Madden’s first touch saw him play a smart through ball to Diagouraga who smashed it past Mark Oxley from just yards out. The move came as Ash Hunter took advantage of a mistake by Ferdinand.
Rosler’s once again proved he was a tactical mastermind as within five minutes, Madden had a goal to add to his assist. An impressive flick on from Dempsey played the debutant through on goal, who composed himself and smashed into the back of the net, despite the best efforts of the tussling defender.
Fleetwood’s second half dominance continued as they looked increasingly likely to add to their tally. Cian Bolger had a header deflected over from a corner, followed by some nice attacking which looked dangerous.
Madden was proving himself to be a worthy addition to Rosler’s side as his distribution was a key component to several Fleetwood attacks. Laying balls off, and spraying the diagonal balls, Madden was impressing his new manager and the hardy Cod Army who travelled to Roots Hall in expectation.
Despite rarely threatening Neal, Southend found themselves back in the game in fortunate circumstances as cleared corner found its way to Kightly, whose effort took a wild deflection off Bolger and looped over Neal and into the back of the net.
Fleetwood had a chance to add a third before the final whistle, but Conor McAleny’s shot from 18 yards was smashed into a defender. Southend sent their goalkeeper up in the final moments in desperation to find an equaliser, but alas Fleetwood defended gallantly and victory was sealed.
It was debut day for Toumani Diagouraga but another debutant Paddy Madden stole the show at Roots Hall. Madden, 27, had been left out in the cold at Scunthorpe but he showed ex-Town boss Graham Alexander just what he is made of when given the freedom to play his way as he teed-up Diagouraga for the opener and side-footed in his own debut goal to fire Fleetwood to another three points.
It was not a case of the luck of the Irish as there was nothing fortuitous about his attacking vision with the forward schooling Anton Ferdinand for both goals and nearly picking out fellow new boy Diagouraga and then rifling home.
Southend did fight back late on but Michael Kightly's deflected effort made things interesting though in this New Year Uwe Rosler's new look side know how to see games off and survived some late scares too rise up to 11th in the league.
Diagouraga had only trained a couple of times with his new team mates after his arrival from Plymouth prior to getting the nod in the midfield three but definitely made his presence known.
That was one of two changes Town make to the side that drew 0-0 with Leciester in the FA Cup third round last Saturday as Diagouraga came in for George Glendon and skipper Nathan Pond came in for the injured Ash Eastham.
It was a less than enthralling first half with the highlight in the press box a batch of warm sausage rolls kindly supplied by the Southend press team on a cold January afternoon. Fleetwood were the brighter of the two teams in that first 45 with Ash Hunter causing a nuisance on the left flank.
It was Hunter who's probing run lead to him getting felled for the biggest chance of the half. He was tripped just outside the box and then whipped the subsequent set-piece up into the path of Devante Cole who nodded the ball onto the bar.
Fleetwood ended strongly with another piercing counter. Wes Burns lead this one as the half drew to a close but instead of sliding Dempsey in on his left, he overran the ball and the threat was lost.
It was an attack that summed up the first 45 as both teams toiled on a chewed up Roots Hall turf. After a tame opening the game sprang to life in the second half with both Town wing-backs Bell and Coyle blasting efforts wide.
There was a potiential game changing moment just after the 50 minute mark when Diagouraga made a meaty challenge on Demetriou. It was a tackle that Southend boss Phil Brown was to call a 12 stud challenge and rue the colour of the card, as he believed it warranted a straight red card.
The real pivotal moment came seconds later when Rosler opted to freshen up the Fleetwood front line and send new boy Madden into the mix.
His fresh legs and desire to make a mark after leaving Scunthorpe with a point to prove lead to a man determined to show what he could do given a chance to play in a position that suits him.
Town's counter-attacking brand of football definitely played into his hands and he made an immediate impact picking up an Ash Hunter flick to loft the ball into the path of fellow new signing Diagouraga who fired home.
Then the forward got his own name on the team sheet, Dempsey's intuitive flick saw him sprint towards goal and he outclassed a static Ferdinand to double Town's lead.
McAleny joined the party late on as Town added more firepower onto the pitch in a revamped side that is now ready to rise up the table.
Town though could not get a third despite a probing Hunter cross from the right evading everyone. And Rosler's men nearly paid the price for not increasing their lead as a fluke late Kightly goal set-up a tense finish.
His deflected effort looped over Neal with the hosts throwing everything and even keeper Max Oxley, though not the kitchen sink as they tried to find a leveller to stop a rot that has now seen them lose eight of their last nine.