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Match Reports

Match Report: Southend 2-2 Rotherham

14 December 2019

Southend produced a spirited second-half fightback to record a 2-2 draw against Rotherham United at Roots Hall with goals from Jason Demetriou and Sam Mantom.

Blues had gone into the break behind in unfortunate circumstances after an attempted clearance inadvertently ricocheted in off the back of Rob Kiernan.

The home side though were awarded a penalty shortly after the interval, their first of the season, which Jason Demetriou calmly dispatched to bring Southend level.

Minutes later and Sam Mantom put Blues in front for the first time, taking down a long ball forward before sliding the ball into the back of the net.

But Sol Campbell’s side weren’t able to hold onto all three points as Freddie Lapado would equalise against his former club from close range as the points were shared.

Despite it being another game without a win for Blues, Campbell will be pleased with a point against a side who started the day just a point outside the play-off places.

After last weekend’s demoralising 4-2 defeat to Bristol Rovers, the Southend boss made two changes, bringing in Stephen Humphrys and Harry Lennon for Tom Hopper and Richard Taylor.

Former Blue Freddie Ladapo had the game’s first shot in anger inside two minutes as the striker wriggled free of two Southend defenders before forcing a save out of Nathan Bishop.

After that early scare however it was Southend that would have the bulk of the possession and they put Rotherham under pressure with a series of set-pieces that ultimately came to nothing.

A sprayed ball out from Sam Mantom then set Blues off on a counter-attack which created a good chance for Brandon Goodship before Jason Demetriou would fire over from the edge of the area.

Sol Campbell’s side continued to have the better of the early chances and Goodship teed up Stephen McLaughlin with a golden chance, crossing for the Irishman who miscued his header badly.

The home side though were unable to force Daniel Iverson into action in the Millers goal and when your luck’s out, your luck’s out, as Southend would get caught out by an unfortunate own goal.

Just before the half-hour mark, Dan Barlaser’s daisy-cutter of a corner was struck against the back of Rob Kiernan, with the ball deflecting off the defender and over the line to give Rotherham the lead.

Southend’s desperate luck this season had reared its ugly head again as the Millers went into the break 1-0 up, but Blues would come out swinging with a superb second-half response.

Four minutes after the restart, Harry Lennon stretched for a cross only to see his effort come off the hand of Chiedozie Ogbene, leaving referee Charles Breakspear to point for a penalty.

The spot-kick was Southend’s first of the season and Demetriou duly took responsibility, calmly sending Iversen the wrong way to bring the two sides level.

The equaliser was the least Blues deserved for their first-half display and within three minutes of their equaliser they completed the turnaround as Mantom put Campbell’s side in front.

A long ball over the top from Elvis Bwomono was brought down perfectly by the midfielder who’d gotten goal side before sliding the ball beyond Iversen and give Southend the lead.

Blues now had something to hold onto, but they were only ahead for a matter of minutes as Rotherham brought the scores level again with Ladapo equalising against his former club.

After Jake Hastie had hit the crossbar, Southend were unable to clear the danger as the ball made its way back into the box, with Ladapo showing his predatory instincts to score from close range.

A frantic second-half was far from done there though as Southend would see two great chances go begging as they searched for a first win in 12 attempts in the league.

McLaughlin went close to putting Southend back in front after a corner found its way out to the winger only for his volley into the turf to bounce up and off the face of the crossbar.

And with a little over 10 minutes remaining, some last-ditch defending from Matt Olosunde was all that stopped Stephen Humphrys from nodding in a Demetriou cross at the far-post.

As the game headed into injury time, Rotherham piled on the pressure by winning a number of set-pieces but they were unable to break through and snatch all three points.

That was despite Ladapo having a great chance to win it in the final few seconds, forcing a superb save out of Bishop towards his right-hand post, as the two sides settled for a point apiece.

Blues XI: Bishop, Bwomono, Milligan, Humphrys, Dieng (C), McLaughlin (Cox 83’), Goodship (Ndukwu 87’), Kiernan, Mantom (Hutchinson 75’), Demetriou, Lennon. Subs Not Used: Oxley, Hamilton, Rush, Kinali

Rotherham United XI: Iversen, Mattock, Wiles, Ladapo, Barlaser, Robertson, Ogbene, Ihiekwe (C), Olosunde, Hastie, Smith (Morris 77’). Subs Not Used: Price, MacDonald, Thompson, Vassell, Clarke, Lamy

Referee: Charles Breakspear

Assistants: Gregory Read & Oliver Jackson

Fourth Official: Marc Wilson

Scorers:

Southend United: Jason Demetriou (p)49’, Sam Mantom 52’

Rotherham United: Rob Kiernan O.G. 29’, Freddie Ladapo 60’

Yellow Cards:

Southend United: Brandon Goodship 89’

Rotherham United: Dan Barlaser 37’, Michael Smith 42’, Chiedozie Ogbene 48’, Michael Ihiekwe 80'

Attendance: 5,652 (423 Away Fans)


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