Southend United 0-1 Shrewsbury TownFull-Time: Southend United 0-1 Town
Micky Mellon then made his first change of the day with Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro coming on for the final eight minutes, and within seconds he found himself in the book for kicking the ball away. Moments later, the Frenchman’s dazzling run almost ended with a goal, before the striker found himself crowded out.
As Southend looked to put pressure on their visitors, Town continued to look dangerous on the counter-attack, with Cole being denied by a last ditch bock from Adam Barret.
With 17 left on the clock, the hard working Barnett received a yellow card for a challenge on Leonard.
As the game entered the final 25 minutes and with Southend manager Phil Brown making an attacking change, there was a scare for Town when Hunt and Leutwiler collided in the box, with both receiving the attention of their respective physios before returning to action.
Cole went close again for Town, with the 22-year-old cutting inside and seeing his effort smothered by Bentley.
Before the celebrations had died down, Southend almost got themselves back on level terms with Wordsworth crashing an effort off the crossbar before strike partner David Mooney saw his follow up effort deflected over for a corner.
Following a nasty tackle on Clark from Glen Rea, Liam Lawrence delivered another expert delivery where an unmarked Knight-Percival converted with a textbook downward header.
But just as the home team looked to have found some momentum, Town took the lead.
After a poor attacking display from the home side, it was no surprise to see Southend take the game to their opponents straight from the kick-off with Anthony Wordsworth driving narrowly over Jayson Leutwiler’s goal from Hunt’s pull back.
Half-Time: Southend United 0-0 Town
And with just minutes of the opening 45 remaining, Knight-Percival met another excellent Lawrence delivery, only to glance his header inches wide of the post.
Firstly, Barnett did superbly well to close down the ball on two occasions before breaking through the Southend backline, only to see his angled shot bravely blocked by United Captain John White.
As the first-half came to a close, Town created two good chances to take a lead that their first-half performance deserved.
On his first start for Town, former Manchester United youngster Larnell Cole was growing in confidence as the game wore on and he would be disappointed not to get himself on the scoresheet after seeing two separate efforts flashing over the crossbar from just outside the box.
Southend, in front of a decent home support, were struggling to get into the game but striker Noel Hunt, formerly of Ipswich Town, showed his skill when lifting the ball past Nat Knight-Percival, with the Town centre-back picking up a yellow card for bringing the Irishman down.
Town, who had scored from a corner last weekend, were looking dangerous from set pieces with Captain Liam Lawrence seeing his expert delivery headed over from Jermaine Grandison.
In the searing Southend sunshine, Town almost got themselves in front when Tyrone Barnett squared to right-back Matt Tootle whose effort soared high and wide.
Town started the brighter of the two sides, with both Liam Lawrence and Jordan Clark firing in long-range efforts that failed to test Southend’s highly rated stopper Dan Bentley.
The hosts were unchanged from the eleven that picked up their first victory of the season since their return to League One, with an impressive 2-1 victory over Peterborough United at Roots Hall.
Town were forced into two changes from last weekend’s impressive victory at Barnsley with long-term injury victim James Wesolowski making way for a first start for Fulham loanee Larnell Cole and Mat Sadler replacing Junior Brown, who misses out with a hamstring injury respectively.
Town were the better of the two teams in the first-half but it wasn’t until the ten minutes into the second period that they got their reward when Knight-Percival headed home Liam Lawrence’s free-kick.
Town recorded their second away victory in a week after a Nathaniel Knight-Percival header early in the second-half was enough to ensure the three points returned to Shropshire with Micky Mellon’s side.
Town: Jayson Leutwiler, Matt Tootle, Mat Sadler, Jermaine Grandison, Liam Lawrence (C), Mark Ellis, Abu Ogogo, Nat Knight-Percival, Jordan Clark, Tyrone Barnett (Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro, 82), Larnell Cole (James Collins, 87).
Subs not used: Mark Halstead (GK), Sam Patterson, Darren McKnight, Shaun Whalley.
Southend United: Dan Bentley (GK), John White (C), Ben Coker (Jack Payne, 66), Anthony Wordsworth, David Worrall, Michael Timlin (Stephen McLaughlin, 60), David Mooney, Noel Hunt (Joe Pigott, 76), Ryan Leonard, Glen Rea, Adam Barrett.
Subs not used: Ted Smith (GK), Cian Bolger, Gary Deegan, Luke O’Neill.
Referee: Dean Whitestone
Assistants: Nigel Lugg and Geoffrey Russell
Fourth Official: Dave Bushell
Attendance:5212 (218 from Shrewsbury)