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See The Media's Reaction to Blues' Final Game Of The 17/18 Season

8 May 2018

Read what various sections of the media had to say following Blues' 0-0 draw against Bristol Rovers on the final day of the 17/18 season...

Southend Echo

When it comes to reviewing Southend United’s 2017/18 season, Saturday’s drab goalless draw with Bristol Rovers will be a footnote at best.

The final clash of the campaign was, in truth, a typical end of season encounter between two mid-table teams with little left to play for.

And it was not a match that will live long in the memory.

The dismissal of Rovers midfielder Ollie Clarke three minutes before the break should have seen the Shrimpers continue their recent momentum and secure a fourth successive victory.

But the red card reduced the entertainment factor even further.

And with Blues struggling to carve open a well-organised Pirates defence, there were very few goalscoring opportunities at either end of the pitch.

Despite their numerical disadvantage, it was the Pirates who came closest to scoring in the second period with Tony Craig hitting the post and Mark Oxley doing well to deny Ellis Harrison.

But, while excitement may have been in short supply, the draw did secure a top 10 finish for the Shrimpers which again underlined the progress made since Chris Powell’s appointment at the end of January.

Yellow Advertiser

Southend had to be content with a share of the spoils, last Saturday evening, after a goalless draw against the ten-men Pirates.

Ollie Clarke was dismissed late in the first-half for a second yellow card.

In blazing early evening sunshine, credit to both sides as this game started full of attacking intent. Rovers’ Ellis Harrison and Liam Sercombe both try their luck, before Shrimpers’ Theo Robinson tested visiting keeper, Sam Slocombe with a wickedly curling effort.

Harrison, Sercombe and Bernard Mensah all wasted good opportunities, before Jason Demetriou got in on the act, on 31 minutes, completely missing the target, from close-range, after everyone had missed Michael Kightly’s raking cross.

The impressive Dru Yearwood was then forced off, on 38 minutes, for apparent precautionary measures, with Ben Coker entering the fray and the versatile Demetriou stepping into the engine room.

Having been cautioned on nine minutes for a clash with skipper, John White, Clarke saw red, three minutes before the turnaround, for a poor challenge on Sam Mantom, leaving the midfield dynamo requiring prolonged treatment.

Southend came out all guns blazing for their final 45 minutes of the season, and within a minute of the restart Sam Slocombe had to be on his mettle to paw away Kightly’s curling free-kick.
But, Rovers - understandably packing out their defence - continued to frustrate their hosts, with Cox and Robinson unable to convert from distance.

Rovers continued to defy the odds and having won a 73rd minute flag-kick, Blues failed to clear their lines and former Millwall man, Tony Craig hit a post from Sercombe’s deep cross.

With Cox driving a late effort high and wide and despite late, concerted Southend pressure, the game petered out into a tame stalemate.

Sky Sports

Bristol Rovers held Southend to a goalless draw despite playing with 10 men for the whole of the second half at Roots Hall.

The Pirates had midfielder Ollie Clarke sent off after 42 minutes when he was shown a second yellow card for a foul on Shrimpers midfielder Sam Mantom.

The hosts came closest to scoring in a tight first-half when Simon Cox volleyed Dru Yearwood's pass onto the crossbar on 35 minutes before Clarke was dismissed seven minutes later.

Southend winger Michael Kightly saw a free-kick from 25 yards pushed to safety by Rovers goalkeeper Sam Slocombe before Theo Robinson fired Elvis Bwomono's cross wide of the target from close range, but Chris Powell's side could not take advantage of the extra man.

Rovers threatened as Shrimpers goalkeeper Mark Oxley impressively kept out a well-struck effort from Ellis Harrison before defender Tony Craig saw his header bounce back off the right post, but both sides shared the spoils.

Bristol Rovers

In the basking sunshine on the coast, it was Southend who registered the first chance on target.

A low ball into the Rovers area picked out Theo Robinson, but his first-time attempt lacked both power and direction, which allowed Sam Slocombe to make a routine save.

Rovers built themselves into the game, as Ellis Harrison held onto possession down the right and slide in a neat pass into the path of Liam Sercombe.

The midfielder darted to boasted his way to theball inside the Southend area and directed a driven attempt that flashed wide of goal.

As the first-half progressed, Southend thought that they had forced the first goal of the contest, as Jason Demetrious edged his way to a delivery to the far-post, but with the goal at his mercy, the defender guided his effort across of the face of goal and behind for a goal-kick.

The hosts again threaten moments later, as Simon Cox leapt to volley home a cross from the right, forcing his effort into the ground but was denied by the crossbar, as Rovers hurried clear the rebound.

As half-time approached, Rovers were reduced to ten men, as Ollie Clarke was shown a second yellow card for a foul on Sam Manton.

Chances were few and far between in the second half, with Rovers doing a good job at keeping the mobile strikeforce of Southend at bay.

There was a heart in mouth moment as Bwomono angled a ball to Theo Robinson at the far-post, but the striker couldn't find the target from close-range.

Rovers did muster a chance through Ellis Harrison, as the striker edged away from his marker and struck a low-volley towards the target that was well held by Oxley.

Inside the final ten minutes, a flighted ball into the box from Chris Lines was headed over the target by Tom Lockyer, as ten-man Rovers registered a point to end the season.

Bristol Post

Bristol Rovers’ 2017/18 campaign ended with a stubborn 0-0 draw against Southend United, despite Ollie Clarke seeing red during the first half.

Rovers produced a disciplined and wholehearted defensive display at Roots Hall to make sure they escaped Essex with a point.

Darrell Clarke’s side completed more than half of the match with 10 men after Ollie Clarke saw red for a second bookable offence just before half time. The midfielder was booked in the ninth minute for a challenge on Southend captain John White, before being booked once again in the 42nd minute for a foul on Sam Mantom.

Referee Anthony Coggins initially walked away from Clarke after showing him a second yellow, but after a few seconds returned to give the Rovers man his marching orders.

Rovers did well to get to the break level, especially given Clarke’s second yellow five minutes before the players headed down the tunnel.

After the break the hosts continued to push for an opener with Michael Kightly going close from a free-kick about 25 yards out. Thankfully, Slocombe was awake and well across to his right to palm the ball away.

Despite being entrenched in their own half, Rovers did have a chance to grab the first with a Harrison snap shot from the edge of the box forcing Oxley down sharply at his feet.

Then with little more than 15 minutes to play, Tony Craig had a great chance to score a winner.

A ball in from the right by Sercombe after an over-hit corner found Craig perfectly, but the defender’s effort struck the far post and Southend scrambled the ball clear.

From that point on, Rovers weathered the Southend storm nicely and held strong for the point.


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