Southend United have been relegated from the Football League despite picking up a 2-1 win against Barrow at the Progression Solicitors Stadium.
It was a gutsy and determined display that saw Blues complete a league double against Barrow, however relegation to the National League was confirmed this afternoon by virtue of Scunthorpe United’s point against Bradford.
Phil Brown’s men knew that they would have to win against Barrow and hope for a Scunthorpe defeat at Bradford if they were to take the relegation battle to the last day of the season.
Eight minutes in, Southend had the first meaningful effort on goal, as Elvis Bwomono and Ricky Holmes linked up well down the right-hand side, which saw the latter spin his marker and shoot towards the far post, which forced Joel Dixon in the Barrow goal into a good save.
Around the 20-minute mark, Barrow took the lead through Scott Quigley as they sprung a quick counter-attack following an error by Reeco Hackett-Fairchild in the middle of the pitch. His control let him down allowing the ball to be slotted through to the former Blackpool man Quigley who coolly slotted the ball past Mark Oxley.
Southend responded well to Barrow’s goal and found themselves an equaliser on the half-hour mark, thanks to an emphatic volley by John White from a Holmes free-kick on the right-hand side to give Blues a small lifeline in their battle for survival.
Blues started the second-half quickly as Tyler Cordner zipped a deflected shot inches wide of the Barrow goal, following a lay-off around the edge of the Bluebirds’ box.
In the 53rd minute, Southend got the goal they were praying for, as a dazzling run from Terrell Egbri down the middle of the pitch saw space open up around 20-yards out, inviting a shot from Blues winger which was struck well, but went through the grasp of Barrow goalkeeper Dixon and into the back of the net.
Just before the hour mark, Barrow nearly equalised, as a corner from the left-hand side was met by Matthew Platt, whose header looked destined for the top corner at the back post, however, Oxley pulled off a fantastic save to keep Blues ahead.
With just over 10 minutes to go, Southend pushed desperately to try and reduce the goal difference on Scunthorpe, as Greg Halford rampaged into the penalty area, but dragged a shot wide of the near post.
The hosts came within inches of equalising again though with just five minutes to go, as good play down the right-wing between Connor Brown and Calvin Andrew saw the latter lay off a pass to Ollie Banks who curled an outside of the foot effort narrowly over Oxley’s crossbar.
Blues managed to see out the game, but due to results elsewhere, the Shrimpers were relegated from the Football League for the first time in 101 years. Southend host Newport County at Roots Hall on the last day of the season.
Barrow AFC Line-up: Joel Dixon, Connor Brown, Matt Platt, Tom Beadling (Ollie Banks 45’), Bobby Thomas, Kgosi Ntlhe, Joshua Kay, Jason Taylor, Jamie Devitt (Dimitri Sea 69’), Luke James (Chris Taylor 79’), Scott Quigley (Calvin Andrew 69’).
Subs Not Used: Scott Moloney, Patrick Brough.
Southend United Line-up: Mark Oxley, Elvis Bwomono, Shaun Hobson, John White, Sam Hart, Terrell Egbri, Kyle Taylor, Tyler Cordner, Reeco Hackett-Fairchild (Brandon Goodship 65’), Ricky Holmes (Matt Rush 45’), Greg Halford.
Subs Not Used: Harry Seaden, James Olayinka, Timothee Dieng, Harry Kyprianou, Louis Walsh.
Referee: Martin Coy
Assistants: Steve Rushton, Ollie Williams
Fourth Official: Graham Salisbury
Barrow AFC: Scott Quigley
Southend United: John White, Terrell Egbri
Barrow AFC: Josh Kay, Connor Brown, Kgosi Ntlhe, Calvin Andrew
Southend United: Tyler Cordner, Sam Hart