Blues cruised into the knockout stages of the Checkatrade Trophy with a comfortable 3-0 win over Southampton U21’s under the Roots Hall floodlights.
Chris Powell’s side headed into the game level with the Saints on three points meaning a loss would knock them out of the competition. A win with a goal difference of three would guarantee a second-place finish but with five goals Southend could top the group and after this afternoon’s win Powell’s Blue army go into the next round in second place.
Powell made eight changes to his side from Saturday’s FA Cup draw with the most notable change seeing Luke Hyam return to the side following his long period out with an knee injury, Bishop went straight back in between the sticks and Kyprianou was handed his first game since the Brentford match in August.
The first chance of the evening went to visitors, the opportunity came from a set-piece after Luke Hyam had tackled Marcus Barnes on the edge of the area. Southampton’s Callum Slattery fired in the free-kick but the ball was sent straight at Bishop who collected the ball easily.
Blues were slow getting into the game but when they got their heads straight they started to produce some tricky footwork.
Southend’s first real chance of the game came from a corner and ended up making it 1-0, Michael Kightly swung the ball in but it was over shot and Dru Yearwood picked up the pieces, rounded Tyreke Johnson and saw the opportunity to send another ball into the box, his cross ended up being dropped by keeper Harry Lewis and into the feet of Harry Bunn who smashed the ball into the roof of the net giving Blues the lead.
The goal gave Southend a massive boost and their play kicked up a notch.
After some end-to-end football Blues found a break through with Harry Kyprianou sending the ball high into the sky and into the far left corner with the chasing Shawn McCoulsky not far behind. McCoulsky managed to keep the ball in play, nutmeg Nathan Tella and go through on goal, only for his effort to be saved and put out for a corner ball.
Once again Blues were able to take advantage of their set-piece opportunity, but this time Stephen McLaughlin was able to pick up the scraps of the corner, fire in his own shot which rebound of the post and out to Kyprianou who stabbed the ball home.
Southend were in full control of the game from here on out with Southampton’s only close effort going wide of the post from open play.
The game seemed to have almost lost it’s energy 25 minutes into the game but a surprise run from Elvis Bwomono sparked a quick-counter attack involving Yearwood who flicked the ball onto McLaughlin and back into the path of Bwomono who burst forward into the Saints box, took on the defender and pulled a shot from out wide and into the bottom left corner.
Southampton’s only real effort that tested Blues’ young shotstopper of Bishop was once against from another free-kick, which Thomas O’Connor fires over the wall and into down to the right of Bishop who amazingly keeps hold of the ball to deny the opposition a goal.
Just before half-time two of Southampton’s players (Johnson & Slattery) were booked for fouls on Elvis Bwomono and Dru Yearwood.
The visitors made two changes going into the second-half with Harry Hamblin and Kayne Ramsay coming on to replace Christoph Klarer and Nathan Tella.
The second half started just like the first half with very little action in the opening minutes.
A break down the right hand side saw Kightly send a ball into the left hand side of the box, which met the head of Shawn McCoulsky who headed the ball back into the centre of the box but the diving Kyprianou’s outstretched leg could only skim the ball and the chance was booted away by O’Driscoll.
Moments later Blues won a free-kick on the edge of the Saints box, but this set-piece was unlike any other free-kick. Strangely enough goal scorer Bunn and Yearwood took positions either side of the posts, the kick was taken and due to Bunn interfering with play he was flagged for offside.
Southampton tried to catch Southend out on the counter and came close with Yan Valery pinging a low cross into Blues’ box which skimmed the outstretched legs of Jonathan Afolabi and Barnes.
Southend almost made it 4-0 when Kightly sent a hard header goal bound but the Saints keeper was on hand to push the effort away from goal.
Blues’ then made two changes with Hyam and skipper Yearwood coming off and being replaced by Timothee Dieng and Jason Demetriou.
With the dying minutes of the game slowly closing in Powell decided to make his final change of the evening with 17-year-old Charlie Kelman being handed his debut to a standing ovation, he came on to replace Bunn.
That concluded the events at Roots Hall with Southend United moving into the knockout stages of the competition.
Blues will find out who they will face in the next round of the competition after Friday’s draw.
Wednesday 14th November 2018
Roots Hall Stadium
Southend United vs Southampton U21’s (The Checkatrade Trophy)
Southend United XI: Bishop (GK), Moore, Kyprianou, White, Bwomono, Kightly, Yearwood ©, Hyam, McLaughlin, Bunn, McCoulsky.
SUBS: Oxley (GK), Demetriou, Hendrie, Kelman, Dieng, Cox, Robinson.
Southampton U21’s XI: Lewis (GK), Valery, O’Connor ©, Johnson, Klarer, Slattery, Driscoll, Afolabi, Smallbone, Tella, Barnes.
SUBS: Rose (GK), Ferry, Ramsay, Robise, Hamblin, Jankewitz, Tchaptchet.
Southend – Bunn (12’), Kyprianou (18’), Bwomono (24’)
Southampton U21’s - N/A
Southend – N/A
Southampton U21’s – Tyreke Johnson (32’), Callum Slattery (35’)
Southend – N/A
Southampton U21’s – N/A
Attendance: 983 (68 Southampton fans)