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Match Reports

MATCH REPORT: SOUTHEND 2-0 ALTRINCHAM

19 March 2022

Southend United responded to Tuesday night’s disappointment by picking up a comfortable 2-0 win against Altrincham thanks to goals from Nathan Ralph and Matt Dennis at Roots Hall.

After a quiet opening half an hour where the Robins went close through Matty Kosylo’s effort that struck both posts, Blues opened the scoring 10 minutes before the break when Ralph bundled the ball over the line after Tony Thompson failed to claim a Tom Clifford corner.

And before the interval, Southend’s lead was doubled when Jack Bridge got in down the left side and played the ball across to Dennis to prod home the second of the game to end Altrincham’s four-game unbeaten run and secure Blues a league double against the Manchester club.  

Blues boss Kevin Maher had hoped to see a reaction from his Southend United side after their 13-game unbeaten run came to an end in midweek and he made three changes to the side that lost 3-0 to Dagenham as Tom Clifford, Jack Bridge and Matt Dennis all came into the starting 11.

Altrincham were making their first-ever visit to Roots Hall and came down from Manchester in form with four wins and a draw from their last six and they couldn’t have gone closer to going in front in the 10th minute when Matty Kosylo’s long-range effort hit both posts before bouncing out.

That was the only real action in a quiet start in the Essex sunshine, though Altrincham did have a couple of half-chances come and go with Jake Cooper glancing a Dan Mooney corner off target before Mooney tested the hands of Steve Arnold with an effort from distance that was well held.

Southend had lived off scraps in the opening half an hour as they struggled to carve out clear chances but when an opportunity presented itself, Blues were clinical enough to take it, and they broke the deadlock 10 minutes before the interval through Nathan Ralph.

Clifford’s corner from the right was swung into the six-yard box and goalkeeper Tony Thompson, under pressure, fumbled the ball onto the knee of Ralph who diverted it across the goal line, though it was the linesman that signalled that it had crossed the line.

Blues were now in the ascendency and went on to double their advantage before the half time interval as Bridge was freed down the left side before playing a low ball across the face of goal for Dennis to prod in from close range for his eighth goal of the season.

All three of Maher’s changes from Tuesday night had contributed to Southend’s first half lead and Blues went close to extending their lead even further after the restart with Dennis and Clifford both seeing efforts well blocked inside the Altrincham box.

The visitors threatened occasionally, with a superb delivery from Mooney crying out to be converted by the Robins midway through the second half, but it was Southend with the better of the chances with Harrison Neal forcing a superb save from Thompson with an effort from outside the box.

Noor Husin had a good chance too to put more daylight between the two sides when he was picked out by Bridge on the edge of the box only for the Afghan international to drag his effort harmlessly wide of Thompson’s left-hand post.

Altrincham weren’t causing any issues up the other end and Southend again had a great charge to score a third when Sam Dalby was slid into the box but some last-ditch defending by the Robins prevented him from getting hit shot away.

Victory for Blues saw them go level on points with 11th-placed Torquay with a game in hand ahead of Tuesday night’s trip to Maidenhead United.

Blues XI: Arnold, Ralph (C) (Atkinson 46’), Hobson, Bridge (Wood 90+1’), Dalby, Clifford, Neal, Davies, Dennis, Kensdale, Husin (Dunne 89’). Subs Not Used: Powell, Demetriou

Altrincham XI: Thompson, Mooney, Osborne, Colclough, Cooper, Kosylo (Hancock 65’), Perritt, Mullarkey, Jones, Hulme (C) (Leitch-Smith 46’), Marriott (Pringle 74’). Subs Not Used: White, Ferguson

Referee: Aji Ajibola

Assistants: Matthew Morrison & Craig Green

Fourth Official: Marc Meeten

Scorers:

Southend United: Nathan Ralph 35’, Matt Dennis 41’

Altrincham: None

Yellow Cards:

Southend United: Matt Dennis 84’

Altrincham: Harry Perritt 53’, Toby Mullarkey 84’

Attendance: 5,976 (60 Away)


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