Sam Dalby’s 10th goal of the season was enough to earn Southend United a 1-0 victory against Grimsby Town at Roots Hall.
After a goalless first half, Callum Powell was brought down in the box by Michee Efete just after the hour mark to win Blues a penalty which Dalby confidently stepped up to take, sending goalkeeper Max Crocombe the wrong way to extend Southend’s unbeaten run to 13 games.
Following on from Saturday’s draw against Chesterfield, Kevin Maher made two changes for the rearranged visit of Grimsby as Callum Powell came in for the injured Matt Dennis, while Jason Demetriou returned to captain the side in place of Leon Davies who dropped to the bench.
Blues were looking to make it 13 games unbeaten and equal their unbeaten run from the 15/16 season but the Mariners travelled in fine form themselves thanks to five wins from their last six and they were first to threaten when Harry Clifton fired one straight at Steve Arnold in a quiet first half.
The opening 45 minutes were short of clear chances for either side but it was Southend who had the best of what was created and midway through the first half Blues went close when Harrison Neal shot from distance, seeing his effort tipped over the bar by Max Crocombe.
Nathan Ralph had a half-chance from the resulting corner but headed wide. Moments later, Southend’s best chance of the half fell to Powell who almost capitalised on a mistake by Luke Waterfall to go through on goal only for his effort to be saved by the feet of Crocombe.
Grimsby began the second half brightly and threatened twice after the restart through their form-man John McAtee. The Mariners number 10 went close with a shot from the edge of the box that was dragged just wide before sending in a dipping effort that was claimed by Arnold.
On a few occasions, Southend had chances to slice their way through the middle of the Grimsby defences but at the vital moment the final ball or final touch would let them down as we reached the hour mark without either goal being breached.
But that all changed when Blues were awarded a penalty in the 61st minute as Powell was brought down in the box by Michee Efete, with referee Daniel Lamport immediately pointing to the penalty spot.
Having scored from the spot against Chesterfield on Saturday, Sam Dalby again took the responsibility from 12 yards, confidently sending the goalkeeper the wrong way to give Southend the lead.
On the balance of play, the lead was a deserved one for Maher’s side and they had chances to make the final few minutes more comfortable with Husin having a couple of chances on goal go begging before substitute Jack Bridge rattled the crossbar with a superb effort in stoppage time.
Four minutes of added time were shown as Grimsby won themselves a final opportunity to grab a point from a free-kick after Neal committed a foul. Callum Jones swung in a dangerous cross that was defended superbly by Blues with the final whistle going shortly after to extend Southend’s unbeaten run.
Blues XI: Arnold, Ralph, Hobson, Dalby, Powell (Bridge 74’), Atkinson, Neal, Lopata, Demetriou (C), Kensdale, Husin. Subs Not Used: Dunne, Clifford, Wood, Davies
Grimsby Town XI: Crocombe, Efete, Crookes, Pearson, Waterfall, Jones, Coke (C)(Dieseruvwe 78’), Abrahams, McAtee, Clifton, Sousa (Burgess 78’). Subs Not Used: Scannell, Maguire-Drew, Smith
Referee: Daniel Lamport
Assistants: Jack Bloxham & Ayrton Hursey
Fourth Official: Aaron Farmer
Southend United: Sam Dalby (p)62’
Grimsby Town: None
Southend United: Shaun Hobson 54’, Harrison Neal 90+3’
Grimsby Town: Michee Efete 61’, John McAtee 72'
Attendance: 7,205 (304 Away)