Southend’s winless run continued as they let a one-goal lead slip to draw 1-1 with Accrington Stanley at the Wham Stadium.
Both sides created chances early on and it was Blues who took the lead when Stephen Humphrys capitalised on a defensive error to bravely head Southend in front.
That would be his final act as he was substituted after suffering a facial injury in scoring the goal, with Southend having good chances to extend their lead go begging before the break.
Accrington came out fighting in the second-half and after a good spell they levelled with a superb strike on the half-volley from Dan Barlaser restoring parity.
Neither side looked like they wanted to settle for a draw, carving out good opportunities to steal all three points but both Southend and Accrington had to settle for one point apiece.
The draw extended Accrington’s unbeaten run to three matches while Blues remain without a win in their last six, with both sides level on points with each other in the League One table.
Despite another game without a win, Chris Powell will no doubt cherish a second straight draw in a season where stalemates had been few and far between, with Blues throwing away a number of points with late goals this campaign.
Going into this one both teams came in with renewed confidence, with Blues buoyed by last weekend’s comeback against Portsmouth while Accrington followed up a 2-2 draw away at Sunderland with a midweek win against Oxford United, their first victory of 2019.
The home side were unchanged following that win while Southend made just the one change with Michael Klass coming in to replace the injured Michael Kightly, and both sides had bright early spells, with a number of set-pieces apiece.
Stanley captain Sean McConville was the first to create a chance of note as he lined up a free-kick from 30-yards and forced Blues goalkeeper Nathan Bishop into a save, springing across to his right to tip the ball away for a corner.
Blues created a good opportunity when Stephen McLaughlin was put through down the left, but the Irishman couldn’t pick out a teammate with his cut back, however Chris Powell’s side were in front just moments later when Stephen Humphrys bravely headed Southend in front.
A long ball forward from Bishop was inexplicably left by defender Ben Richards-Everton, thinking his goalkeeper Jonny Maxted would come to claim the ball, only for Humphrys to nip in ahead of the Stanley custodian and head the ball into the empty net to give Blues the lead.
In scoring the goal though, Humphrys collided heavily with Maxted and needed lengthy treatment for what appeared to be a broken nose, before leaving on a stretcher. Maxted wasn’t far behind, trying to carry on only to be replaced a couple of minutes later by Dimitar Evtimov.
When play got back underway, Blues went in search for a second goal and created a couple of chances in stoppage time with Michael Klass and McLaughlin having shots blocked inside the area before a Sam Mantom penalty shout was waved away as Southend ended the half strongly.
Southend went into the break 45 minutes away from a first win in six, however the home side almost levelled early in the second-half when a McConville free-kick was dropped by goalkeeper Bishop inside the area but Billy Kee couldn’t force the ball over the line in the ensuing scramble.
Accrington were controlling the tempo and went close again to an equaliser when Callum Johnson sent a dipping half-volley from distance just wide as John Coleman’s side ramped up the pressure on Blues.
Southend were still carving out chances of their own though with McLaughlin missing the opportunity to lob Evtimov, who was miles off his line, before Isaac Hutchinson, Klass and McLaughlin all who had efforts off target.
But the home side would level matters right on the hour mark with a superbly taken goal from Dan Barlaser. Southend failed to clear their lines as the ball fell to the midfielder who rifled the ball in from 25-yards with a well struck half-volley that flew beyond Bishop to bring Accrington level.
Stanley’s tails were up following the goal and they momentarily thought they’d been awarded a penalty when Timothee Dieng fouled Jordan Clark. Referee Eddie Ilderton pointed to the spot before consulting with his linesman and changing it to a free-kick to the relief of the visitors.
Neither side looked like they were settling for a point and Bishop had to be at his best to stop Paul Smyth from scoring from a tight angle after some pinball in the Southend box saw the ball fall to the on-loan QPR forward.
Blues then had a couple of chances of their own when Mantom’s corner was flicked on by Taylor Moore and fired wide by Michael Turner at the far post, moments before Mantom got through and rounded the goalkeeper only for a recovering defender to steal the ball from the Southend captain.
Moore had another good chance for Blues go begging in injury-time, getting on the end of a Mantom free-kick inside the penalty area only to head wide as Southend pushed for a vital three points. But despite ending the half strongly they couldn’t grab a second and had to settle for a point.
Accrington Stanley XI: Maxted (Evtimov 29’), Johnson, Hughes, Donacien, Richards-Everton, Clark, Brown, McConville (C), Barlaser, Kee, Smyth (Armstrong 83’). Subs Not Used: Zanala, Finley, Rogers, Gibson, Gilboy
Blues XI: Bishop, Bwomono, Turner, Dieng, Cox, McLaughlin (Lennon 84’), Mantom (C), Klass (Hyam 90+3’), Moore, Humphrys (Hutchinson 26’), Hart. Subs Not Used: Smith, Kiernan, Wabo, Kelman
Referee: Eddie Ilderton
Assistants: Helen Byrne & Richard Wild
Fourth Official: Nick Greenhalgh
Accrington Stanley: Dan Barlaser 60’
Southend United: Stephen Humphrys 20’
Accrington Stanley: Billy Kee 30’, Jordan Clark 79’
Southend United: Simon Cox 36’, Michael Klass 41’
Attendance: 2,472 (346 Away)