Southend fell to a second defeat of the season as they were beaten 2-0 by Carlisle United at Brunton Park with goals from Omari Patrick and Josh Kayode the difference in Cumbria.
In one of just seven Football League games that had fans in attendance as part of the Government ‘return of fans’ pilot, the 1,000 Carlisle fans in attendance were on their feet after Patrick opened the scoring when his deflected effort nestled in the bottom corner.
Three minutes later and Kayode doubled the home side’s advantage as he was teed up on the edge of the box before drilling in a low effort that beat Mark Oxley and secure them a first victory in League Two this season.
Both sides came into the weekend off the back of opening day defeats, with Southend losing 4-0 to Harrogate while Carlisle lost 3-0 to Cambridge, and Mark Molesley made just the one change from last Saturday as the returning Alan McCormack came in to replace Lewis Gard.
It took a while for the game to get going at Brunton Park but it was Southend that carved out the first chance of the game. A long throw out from Mark Oxley set Charlie Kelman through, but after going wide the striker laid the ball back for Isaac Hutchinson whose shot was deflected over.
From the resulting corner, Blues had a shout for a penalty waved away as Jordan Green went down inside the area, but referee Graham Salisbury was unmoved as Carlisle cleared the danger and then began a spell of pressure of their own on Southend’s goal.
Shaun Hobson’s back-pass gifted Carlisle a chance on goal only for the swift intervention of Oxley stopping Josh Kayode from getting in. Oxley was then called upon again in more conventional means when he made a fantastic save to stop an Aaron Hayden header from a Kayode long throw.
Molesley’s side were feeling the pressure a little bit and Gime Toure had a shot headed away by Hobson after a dangerous ball across the box from Omari Patrick wasn’t capitalised on, and mere seconds later the home side, with a little bit of fortune, made the breakthrough.
Callum Guy’s corner from the Southend left was cleared out but only as far as Patrick who was on the edge of the area. The United striker fired in a half-volley that took a wicked deflection to deceive Oxley and nestle in the bottom corner, giving the home side the lead.
Blues could feel a little hard done by with that goal but there was no fortune needed for Carlisle’s second which came just a few minutes later. Kayode was the recipient after a mazy run through midfield saw the striker teed up to drill the ball in at Oxley’s right-hand post.
Going into the break 2-0 down was a little harsh on Blues who’d been sucker-punched by two quick goals, but they came out for the second-half looking to get back into the contest and went close when Brandon Goodship’s fired cross just missed the required touch from Charlie Kelman.
Despite Southend’s bright start, Kayode’s long throws were continuing to cause havoc and they almost led to a third for the home side when the ball made it all the way through to an unmarked Nick Anderton who headed down but Oxley spread himself beautifully to save with his left foot.
The home side went close again on the hour mark with Jon Mellish being found by a cut back before firing over and Oxley needed to be at his best to stop Hayden from nodding in a third as his glancing header from another Kayode long throw needed a superb reaction save to be kept out.
In contrast the visitors were unable to truly test Oxley’s opposite number as referee Salisbury called time on the afternoon’s early kick-off leaving Southend without a point so far from their opening two games of the campaign.
Carlisle United XI: Farman, Ranner, Anderton (C), Hayden, Guy, Patrick (Walker 74’), Mellish (Alessandra 70’), McDonald, Kayode, Furman, Toure (Reilly 84’). Subs Not Used: Dewhurst, Devine, Hunt, Riley
Blues XI: Oxley (C), Bwomono, Ralph, McCormack (Gard 60’), Hobson, Green, Goodship (Kinali 81’), Egbri, Hutchinson, Taylor, Kelman (Clifford 71’). Subs Not Used: Seaden, Phillips, Rush
Referee: Graham Salisbury
Assistants: Mark Cunliffe & Graeme Fyvie
Fourth Official: Andrew Miller
Carlisle United: Omari Patrick 36’, Josh Kayode 39’
Southend United: None
Carlisle United: Nick Anderton 16’
Southend United: None