Southend United were unable to breakdown a stubborn Stevenage side as Blues drew 0-0 with Alex Revell’s side at Roots Hall.
Having kept five clean-sheets in a row, the visitors were always likely to be a tough nut to crack and so it proved, but Mark Molesley will be frustrated that his side weren’t able to take the guilt-edged chances they created.
Blues’ best chances came in the opening few minutes of the game with Simeon Akinola firing over from six-yards out after a superb cross from Reeco Hackett-Fairchild before Nathan Ferguson’s free-kick needed a brilliant fingertip save from Jamie Cumming to keep him out.
Stevenage had a couple of chances of their own, but nothing as clear-cut, as both sides were made to settle for a point in a repeat of the scoreline from the reverse fixture between the two sides back in December.
Going into the game at Roots Hall, the importance of this afternoon’s fixture wasn’t lost on anyone, with Barrow’s win at Walsall only heightening the importance of picking up three points against a Stevenage side that were bang in form and difficult to break down.
Boro came into today unbeaten in seven with just one goal conceded in that time, while Blues had scored in just one of their last seven, so Mark Molesley went with a more attacking line-up, making four changes and going with two up front.
Shaun Hobson, Sam Hart, Nathan Ferguson and Simeon Akinola came in and Akinola had a glorious chance seven minutes in when he was picked out by a stellar cross from Reeco Hackett-Fairchild, but the striker was unable to hit the target on the volley six-yards out.
That was a clear sign of Southend’s attacking intent, and if it wasn’t for a top drawer save by Jamie Cumming in the Stevenage goal, Ferguson would have opened the scoring with his free-kick that had looked destined for the top corner before Cumming’s intervention.
Blues continued to look the most threatening and had further chances with Hackett-Fairchild’s free-kick hitting the wall before Akinola attempted an overhead kick only for Stevenage defenders to hack the ball clear.
Stevenage started to get a foothold in the game as the half wore on and twice went close before the interval with Elliott List dragging a shot off target after half an hour. Elliot Osborne then went even closer with his effort that flashed across the face of goal, whistling just past the post.
The second-half was a much scrappier affair and it wasn’t until after the hour mark before we saw an effort on either goal as List picked up the ball on the right, cut inside onto his left and pulling his shot wide of the mark.
With 10 minutes remaining, Chris Lines’ smart free-kick afforded Luke Norris a chance on goal but with the angle narrowing the Stevenage sub couldn’t squeeze his shot beyond Montgomery who kept it out with his foot.
Five minutes added on time were shown and Blues had a free-kick in the final seconds which saw efforts from Jacob Mellis and John White blocked, before Ricky Holmes fired over on the stretch as Stevenage held on, leaving Southend frustrated at picking up just a point.
Blues XI: Montgomery, Bwomono, McCormack (Holmes 70’), Hobson, Dieng, Akinola, Hackett-Fairchild (Goodship 84’), Demetriou (Mellis 84’), Hart, Ferguson, White (C). Subs Not Used: Seaden, Cordner, Acquah, Nathaniel-George
Stevenage XI: Cumming, James-Wildin, Coker, Cuthbert (C) (Prosser 42’), Osborne, Newton (Norris 59’), Vancooten, List, Pett, Aitchison (Vincelot 90+1’), Lines. Subs Not Used: Johnson, Hutton, Read, Stevens
Referee: Peter Wright
Assistants: James Vallance & Leigh Crowhurst
Fourth Official: Gareth Viccars
Southend United: None
Southend United: Alan McCormack 67’, Jason Demetriou 77’, Reeco Hackett-Fairchild 81’
Stevenage: Luke Prosser 45+4’