Blues were left frustrated as they ground out a 0-0 draw at Roots Hall against Darren Ferguson’s Doncaster Rovers side.
Both sides struggled early on with the boggy Roots Hall pitch, but each side settled down enough to carve out a number of chances a piece.
Doncaster were denied in the first half by a fantastic double save from Mark Oxley, first denying John Marquis before getting up quickly to stop Alex Kiwomya’s rebound.
Oxley’s opposite number had little in comparison to deal with but was required to make a great reaction save midway through the second half to stop Michael Turner from heading the ball in.
A point was arguably a fair result for both teams and the point was enough to see Southend rise up one place to 13th following Walsall’s defeat at Shrewsbury.
Chris Powell though will be disappointed though that his side weren’t able to make the most of home advantage with long trips to Rochdale and Blackpool to come in the next week.
Following last weekend’s home defeat to Walsall – Southend’s first loss under Powell – the Blues boss would have wanted to see an improvement from his side who had been so soundly beaten last time out.
Powell made three changes to his starting line-up with Michael Kightly, Josh Wright and Marc-Antoine Fortune all coming in for Michael Timlin, Shayon Harrison and Freddie Ladapo.
The visitors travelled to Roots Hall with just one win in their last six and were below Southend in the table going into this one, but after a scrappy opening 15 minutes, Darren Ferguson’s side had the game’s first clear chance on goal through Joe Wright.
After winning his side a corner, James Coppinger floated the ball into the penalty area and onto the head of Wright who was completely unmarked but failed to find the target.
Southend’s first chance on goal would come through Kightly cutting onto his right foot before curling his strike wide but Blues would go even closer moments later through Stephen McLaughlin.
Fortune’s superb reverse pass found the run of the Irishman, allowing him to be clean through on goal. McLaughin’s shot beat Marko Marosi but went agonisingly wide of his left-hand post.
The momentum of the game was starting to pick up and Mark Oxley denied Rovers from taking the lead midway through the first-half with a superb double save to keep the visitors out.
Oxley first got down well to stop John Marquis’ flick header from sneaking in at his near post before getting up quickly to make a fantastic second save to deny Alex Kiwomya.
The sides went into the break goalless but it was Blues would end the half the stronger with Wright close to being picked out by a low ball into the area by Kightly before Jason Demetriou’s cross found the head of McLaughlin whose header lacked the power to beat Marosi.
With away trips to Rochdale and Blackpool to come in the next week, it was vital that Southend made the most of their home advantage but it was Rovers who started the brighter in the second half.
Niall Mason stole the ball off McLaughlin before seeing his piledriver of a strike parried away by Oxley, with Kiwomya unable to get to the rebound. Moments later and Matthew Blair’s cross had to be headed over his own crossbar by Michael Turner.
Southend then rode their luck as Rovers won a succession of corners before going up the other end and coming close themselves, first through Kightly and then through Turner.
Kightly found space on the left-hand side of the box to get his shot away, seeing it deflect for a corner before Turner was picked out at the far post from the subsequent corner, forcing a brilliant save from Marosi with his header.
A neat Rovers move left Marquis in a shooting position but his hesitation to pull the trigger allowed Demetriou to come across and block the shot and the Rovers number nine then tried his luck from a free kick which skipped across the heavy Roots Hall surface and whistled past Oxley’s post.
It looked like both sides were going to have to settle for a point but Southend had a glorious chance to nick it at the death after Jordan Houghton brought down Ben Coker just outside the penalty area. McLaughlin’s low free-kick found the run of substitute Anthony Wordsworth but he spooned his first-time strike up and over the bar to the despair of the home faithful.
Southend pressed hard for a winner in injury time but couldn’t grab themselves a winner as both teams had to settle for a point apiece.
Blues XI: Oxley, Coker (C), Ferdinand, Turner, Kightly (Harrison 80’), Fortune (Ladapo 87’), Cox (Wordsworth 67’), McLaughlin, Yearwood, Demetriou, Wright. Subs Not Used: Bishop, Timlin, Mantom, Kyprianou
Doncaster Rovers XI: Marosi, McCullough, Baudry, Mason, Marquis, Rowe, Wright, Houghton, Blair Kiwomya (May 69’), Coppinger (C). Subs Not Used: Lawlor, Alcock, Kongolo, Williams, Whiteman, Khemis
Referee: Kevin Johnson
Assistants: Anthony Da Costa & Simon Shaw
Fourth Official: Stephen Brown
Southend United: None
Doncaster Rovers: None
Southend United: None
Doncaster Rovers: Mathieu Baudry 52’