Southend United picked up another potentially vital point as they drew 0-0 with Salford City at Roots Hall.
After a tight opening half an hour, Blues created some great chances to score with Emile Acquah twice testing Vaclav Hladky before Hladky again was needed to save a deflected Nathan Ferguson effort in the second-half.
Emergency loan signing Alex Bass was only able to last 45 minutes before being replaced by Harry Seaden and the young stopper made a couple of vital saves, the best of which come from point-blank range to prevent Ian Henderson.
The point for Blues, combined with defeats for Barrow and Grimsby, leaves them two points above the relegation zone going into Tuesday night’s trip to Cheltenham Town. Salford on the other hand drop to ninth and are a point outside of the play-off places.
Following Wednesday’s superb win at Forest Green Rovers, Mark Molesley chose to go with the same 10 outfielders that began the game in midweek, with his only change being in goal as Mark Oxley was ruled out through injury, being replaced by emergency loanee Alex Bass.
It took a while for the game to get going at Roots Hall with nothing of note until almost the half-hour mark, but when it did start to pick up, Southend were the ones that were looking the most likely to trouble the scoreboard with Emile Acquah having a couple of golden chances to score.
The young striker’s first opportunity came thanks to a superb defence-splitting pass from Timothee Dieng which allowed Acquah to get goal side. His shot had the necessary power but was straight at goalkeeper Vaclav Hladky who got his body in the way to save the shot.
From the resulting corner, Shaun Hobson saw an effort flash across the face of goal before Acquah then had another opportunity late in the half when John White headed Nathan Ferguson’s cross back across goal only for Acquah to head the ball straight at Hladky from six-yards out.
Having appeared to be struggling with a knock as the first-half went on, goalkeeper Bass failed to emerge for the second-half and was replaced by Harry Seaden for just his second league appearance for Blues and his first since February 2020 against Gillingham.
It took 10 minutes for Seaden to be called into action for the first time as Robbie Gotts played a ball back across goal that needed tipping over. Jordan Turnbull was first to the resulting corner, but his flicked header failed to trouble Seaden as it floated over the crossbar.
That had been the best Salford had mustered so far, while Southend continued to have the better of the chances on goal and Wednesday night’s viral-sensation Ferguson went close to putting Blues in front when his low, deflected strike had to be tipped around the post by Hladky.
Salford would respond by creating their clearest chance of the afternoon by far when Ash Hunter headed down a long fall forward into Ian Henderson, whose first-time effort was superbly saved from close range by Seaden as Southend scrambled clear.
The visitors were starting to press forward more often now and Di’Shon Bernard tested Seaden with a driven effort that was comfortably held by the ‘keeper as five minutes of added on time were shown for either side to nick a winner.
Salford had a chance fall to Hunter in stoppage-time, but he dragged his shot wide, before the visitors had a shout for a penalty after a coming together between Ashely Nathaniel-George and Richie Towell which referee Dean Whitestone waved off as both sides settled for a point.
Blues XI: Bass (Seaden 46’), Bwomono, Hobson, Dieng, Akinola (Nathaniel-George 57’), Clifford, Hackett-Fairchild, Acquah (Ranger 77’)(Demetriou 88’), K Taylor (McCormack 57’), Ferguson, White (C). Subs Not Used: Cordner, Holmes
Salford City XI: Hladky, Lowe, Eastham (C), Hunter, Bernard, Turnbull, Wilson (Towell 66’), Gotts (Touray 66’), Coutts, Thomas-Asante (Dieseruvwe 83’), Henderson. Subs Not Used: Evans, James, Burgess, Threlkeld
Referee: Dean Whitestone
Assistants: Bhupinder Gill & Graham Kane
Fourth Official: Robert Hyde
Southend United: None
Salford City: None
Southend United: Reeco Hackett-Fairchild 14’, Alan McCormack 79’
Salford City: Robbie Gotts 61’