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17/18 Season Review - April & May

18 June 2018

The final two months of the season were ones of promise and hope for the 18/19 Season.

This was not only down to Blues winning four out of their seven games in the last weeks of the campaign but also because they scored 13 goals and conceded just three. 

The month started off with an Easter Monday home game against rivals local Gillingham, as Chris Powell got the reaction he wanted from the defeat to Plymouth on Good Friday.

Three goals in 11 minutes put Blues on course for their first win against the Gills in 10 attempts.

It started when Michael Turner opened the scoring in fine fashion with a textbook header, Theo Robinson doubled the lead with a superb volley which was shortly followed by Michael Kightly's close-range header to make it 3-0 in just the 18th minute.

Stephen McLaughlin completed the scoring on the day when he headed in Kightly's corner and Gillingham's afternoon was made worse when captain Lee Martin was shown a straight red card for a late challenge on Robinson. 

The following weekend Blues travelled to top of the league Blackburn and just one change was made to the side with Sam Mantom coming in for Theo Robinson as Blues bolstered their midfield against Rovers.

Blues started brightly, taking the game to the promotion hopefuls, and when the dominant figure of Bradley Dack was subbed off in the 11th minute he was replaced by former Southend man Jack Payne. 

Blues pushed for the opener but all their efforts were fruitless and the hosts made them pay for it when Danny Graham nodded in a cross at the far post. Powell's side pressed to try and equalise but failed to break down Tony Mowbray's side and were denied a penalty late on as well.

Another away game was in store for Blues against Oxford United a week later, but if the Blackburn defeat drew more positives than negatives, this was completely different outcome.

It was a nightmare of a first-half that killed it for Powell's side who went behind in just the sixth minute when James Henry found the net. 

Blues then lost two defenders in quick succession with Ben Coker and Michael Turner both going off injured and the reshuffle in the back-line caused problems. On the stroke of half-time, Oxford doubled their lead. Efforts from Simon Cox and Dru Yearwood were palmed away as they tried to force a comeback. 

A return to Roots Hall and the visit of the struggling MK Dons was the next game for Southend, who has redemption on their mind from the Oxford showing.

Robinson was the Man of the Match after he netted his first career hat-trick against Dan Micciche's side, and the Dons manager was sacked the following day.

The striker opened the scoring midway through the first-half and doubled his tally minutes later, connecting with Michael Timlin's pass swooping the ball over Wieger Sietsma. 

Southend made the points safe midway through the second-half when McLaughlin flicked Kightly's free-kick goalbound shortly before Robinson completed his hat-trick with a close-range finish in front of the home support. 

Another away game meant Blues travelled up to Greater Manchester to face Oldham Athletic in a rearranged fixture, and they came away with their first win on the road since February. 

In-form frontman Robinson got off to the perfect start scoring just six minutes in following a corner from the left-hand side by McLaughlin. The hosts nearly equalised minutes later when Eoin Doyle was put through on goal, but the former Chesterfield striker sliced his effort wide of the post. 

The second half started in a similar fashion for Southend with Cox getting his name on the scoresheet in the 52nd minute, shortly followed by his second to finish the scoring. Mark Oxley kept yet another clean sheet and was a contender for Man of the Match after his impressive second-half saves. 

The final away game of the season was against Bradford City and for the first time since Powell's first run of games, Southend won three in a row. 

Bradford had the first notable effort when Callum Guy curled a shot from 20 yards towards the top corner only for it to saved by Oxley. 

The hosts tried to make their home advantage count but failed on numerous occasions and Blues made them pay for it. Southend took the lead in the 73rd minute when John White connected with Kightly's corner. 

Shortly after White's opener, things went bad to worse for Bradford and they were picked apart when Dru Yearwood burst through the midfield from his own half and laid off Fortune who's effort saw a deflection that land in the right-hand side of the goal. 

Blues ended their 17/18 League One campaign with a goalless draw against Bristol Rovers in May. Neither side were able to break the deadlock, despite the fact that Rovers had to play the entirety of the second-half with 10-men after Ollie Clarke was sent off in the first half. 

Cox went close with an acrobatic scissor-kick that hit the woodwork and the visitors themselves did the same when Tony Craig headed the ball goalward in the second half, but with nothing to play for, the campaign drew to an undramatic close.


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