Blues' stunning second-half performance courtesy of a Shawn McCoulsky double and a Isaac Hutchinson debut goal secured them all three points in the Checkatrade Trophy at home against a strong Cambridge United side…
The Tuesday night fixture saw a lot of attacking play and both sides piled on the pressure as they battled it out crucial group stage points.
The three-points and equal amount of goals puts Blues top of the Southern Group B table and those points could help them for the future fixtures.
The game started very slowly and both sides had an equal amount of possession, but they couldn’t create any promising chances in the first-half.
The first goal-scoring opportunity for Blues came after seven minutes with the experienced Simon Cox bursting down the left-hand flank, but his low cross was deflected out wide for a corner.
The visitors had a golden chance to score from a set-piece, but Jevani Brown’s free-kick narrowly sailed over the bar.
Cambridge almost scored an own goal which came from Harry Bunn’s cross that was sent goal-bound and deflected off the legs of Harry Darling leaving Mitov scrambling for the ball as it just scrapes wide of the far post.
Blues youngster Renei Batlokwa could of and should have put his side infront but the number 33’s right footed volley span off his foot and rolled out to Cox whose effort on goal went straight to the keeper.
Cambridge made two changes at half-time with captain George Taylor and George Maris coming off for Jake Carroll and Paul Lewis.
Both teams came out more aggressive in the second half and the visitors change made a difference and after seven minutes they took the lead after Reggie Lambe headed in Leon Davies’ left-wing cross.
But the lead didn’t last long with Blues’ loan signing Shawn McCoulsky netting Bunn’s cross into the net to level the playing field.
McCoulsky took under ten minutes to double his tally and did so from the same attacking play, this time following Stephen Hendrie’s high-rising cross.
Cambridge’s final change saw Emmanuel Osadebe come off for the attacking player David Amoo as the visitors tried to salvage something from the game.
Just as the excitement had died down in the game youngster Michael Klass sent a wonderfully taken long-range shot goal bound and hit the woodwork.
A double change for Blues’ saw the introduction of Lewis Gard and Isaac Hutchinson who replaced Bunn and Cox.
The substitutions were certainly the right ones as it took debutant Hutchinson just one minute to score on his Blues debut, netting a well-taken strike that thundered into the back of the net.
The final change of the evening saw Stephen McLaughlin come off for Amadou Ba.
In the dying minutes of the game the U’s tried effortlessly to get something from the game and came close when substitute Lewis sent a bouncing shot towards Bishop’s goal but the 18-year-old shot-stopper made a superb fingertip save to push the ball over the bar.
The victory is exactly the type of response Chris Powell would have wanted from his side and they will look to use the win as momentum when they take on Peterborough this weekend at Roots Hall.
Tuesday 4th September 2018
Roots Hall Stadium
Southend United vs Cambridge United (Checkatrade Trophy)
Southend United: Bishop (GK), Bwomono, White ©, Moore, Hendrie, McLaughlin, Klass, Batlokwa, Bunn, McCoulsky, Cox.
Cambridge United: Mitov (GK), Taft, Davies, Darling, Taylor © O’Neil, Osadebe, Maris, Lambe, Brown, Azeez
Southend – McCoulsky (55’, 62’) Hutchinson (83’)
Cambridge – Lambe (52’)
Southend – Michael Klass (22’) Harry Bunn (72’)
Cambridge – Liam O’Neil (73’)
Attendance – 1,421 (49 Cambridge supporters)