Southend went into December on the back of a crucial win over Scunthorpe, their only league victory in November.
The first game of the month was the Second Round of the FA Cup at home to Barnsley which finished in a controversial 4-2 defeat to the Tykes. Michael Turner scored a perfectly good goal in the dying stages, something the officials later admitted to making a mistake on, which would have made the score 3-3 and complete a brilliant comeback after former loanee Cauley Woodrow’s double which had put Barnsley 3-1 in front. However, the goal was ruled out for offside and the visitors then went up the other end and finished the game off with Mike Bahre’s goal.
Next up for Blues was another cup game, but this time it was a trip to Luton Town in the Checkatrade Trophy. After going 1-0 down, an 88th minute Stephen McLaughlin equaliser sent the game to penalties. Mark Oxley made two great stops and Chris Powell’s side won 4-2 to progress onto the next stage of the competition. On the 8th December saw a return to league action in the form of an away trip to Fratton Park to face Portsmouth, but the home side ran out 2-0 winners.
Southend’s first league game at Roots Hall in December was against Accrington Stanley, and in freezing cold conditions and torrential rain Blues came out on top thanks to goals from Sam Mantom, Simon Cox and Theo Robinson without reply from Stanley.
The following week was another home game in the league but, disappointingly, it wasn’t the same outcome and Blues lost this 2-1 to Rochdale as the festive fixtures began to come thick and fast.
A Boxing Day trip to Oxford United resulted in a 1-0 victory via Michael Kightly's 79th minute header which decided an otherwise quiet game. The team ended 2018 away to Coventry City as Jordi Hiwula earned the Sky Blues the three points, leaving Blues in 12th place in the League One standings on 32 points at the turn of the year.
2019 got off to a flyer with a 2-0 win at home to Gillingham on New Year’s day with goals from Sam Mantom and Taylor Moore, the latter coming after the Gills had an effort cleared off the line up the other end.
A trip to face Doncaster Rovers was postponed due to the Keepmoat Stadium side progressing into the Third Round of the FA Cup so Blues waited until Tuesday 8th January when Portsmouth visited Roots Hall in the Checkatrade Trophy, but this was to be where we bowed out of the competition after losing 2-0 on a disappointing night against a much-changed Pompey outfit.
A 3-2 defeat to Plymouth was to have one lasting memory as teenage striker Charlie Kelman announced himself to the footballing world with an outrageous goal from inside his own half on his league debut. Blues’ Goal of the Season had been scored.
The week later saw Southend travel to Bradford City where the team bounced back in emphatic fashion with a 4-0 victory thanks in many ways to the introduction of the new signing Stephen Humphrys, who was announced only that morning. It was a debut to remember with two stunning solo goals, which came alongside a couple of other special strikes, firstly Simon Cox and then Sam Mantom.
January came to an end in front of a big crowd at Roots Hall where Southend hosted high-flying Luton Town. A tight encounter ended up in a 1-0 defeat which sent the Hatters top of the league and left Southend where they began the month, in 12th position.
Theo Robinson departed on on loan for the remainder of the season while alongside Humphrys, Sam Hart was the only other addition on loan.
A reminder that Season Cards for next season are on sale and prices are frozen for the fourth consecutive year!