Town 1 Southend United 2Town: Jayson Leutwiler, Zak Whitbread (Scott Vernon 81), Ian Black, Richie Wellens, Junior Brown, Jack Grimmer, Andy Mangan, Nathaniel Knight-Percival (c), Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro, Dom Smith, James Wallace ( Shaun Whalley 32)
Subs: Mark Halstead, Mat Sadler, Kyle Vassell, Abu Ogogo, Jordan Clark
Southend United: Dan Bentley, Adam Thompson, David Mooney (Jamar Loza), Jack Payne (Sam McQueen), Will Atkinson, Cian Bolger, Noel Hunt (Michael Timlin), Ryan Leonard, Luke O’Neill, Adam Barrett (c), Stephen Hendrie
Subs: Ted Smith. Dave Worrall, Kevan Hurst, Glen Kamara
Referee CHRISTOPHER SARGINSON
Assistant referees: Wayne Barratt and Richard Bartlett
Fourth Official : Neil Radford
Attendance: 4,602 (231 from Southend)
Micky Mellon made two changes with Larnell Cole missing with a groin problem, in came Richie Wellens and James Wallace with Jordan Clark dropping to the bench.
Town looked to set-up with a 3-4-2-1 formation with Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro at the tip of the Town formation and with Southend setting up with an attacking formation it looked to make an interesting evening.
Town had a couple of good chances in the opening 10 minutes, the first a corner delivered into the back post that Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro got a good header on but there was a Southend player in the right place to head off the line.
Minutes later Town created a good attacking move with Mangan taking the ball down in the Southend box, he cut it back to Wallace who got a good shot in but it was deflected behind for a Town corner. The corner was delivered well and there was Nat Knight-Percival at the back post with a decent header on goal but Bentley was in the right place to save.
Town were looking strong when they attacked and Wellens was putting some lovely balls around to get the home side creating chances. He was involved again as Town prodded and probed around the Shrimpers box but could only force a corner. The ball was once again delivered well and found Whitbread at the back post, he got a good effort in on goal but it was blocked.
Another good chance came to home side after the ball was put in behind the Shrimpers defence for Wallace to run onto, he was in on goal but didn't get his shot right when one on one with Bentley and it was wide of the target.
It was Southend who took the lead on 21 minutes, they had looked dangerous but not had much in the way of chances but when the ball dropped to Atkinson on the edge of the box he found the space to hit in a decent effort from outside the box that flew past the dive of Leutwiler for 1-0.
Town were continuing to create chances and looked dangerous when attacking and were creating a lot of these chances from set-pieces. Another good delivery from a corner saw the ball moved around the Southend box as Town looked for the angle, it came back in and found Whitbread but his close ranger effort was blocked for another Town corner.
Just after the half-hour mark Town were forced into an early change, James Wallace had been struggling for a few minutes and wasn't able to shake it off so Shaun Whalley was brought on for an early substitution.
Southend had a good chance to double their lead with just over 5 minutes of the half remaining, a misplaced pass from Knight-Percival allowed Southend to attack, the ball was with Payne and he smashed in a fierce shot that beat Leutwiler but the post was there to deny the visitors.
The addition of Whalley had added some pace to the Town line-up and when he picked the ball he was away down the pitch, he skipped through the Shrimpers back line and then threaded the ball into Mangan but his first touch was heavy and the chance as gone.
Southend were finishing the half strongly and were putting the pressure on the Town final third, the ball was with Leonard just outside the Town box and he hit a vicious shot but again Leutwiler was there with an important block.
Town made the perfect start to the second half and were on level terms with just over a minute on the clock, from the kick-off Town put the pressure on, the ball was delivered into the Southend box for Akpa Akpro, he brought the ball down nicely and then laid it off to Mangan who hit in a lovely low drive from close range to make it 1-1.
Play was stopped after Ian Black was left sprawled on the floor, then followed a few complaints from the Southend players to the ref who in turn produced a yellow card for Timlin, Black ok to continue and play is restarted.
Town were continuing to create chances and put the pressure on, the ball was hit sweetly in on goal but Bentley was there to scoop the ball away, it dropped to Knight-Percival in the box and he got a shot in on goal but is was blocked and Southend cleared the danger.
Town were playing some great football and were moving the ball around the pitch to stretch the visitors, this worked well when the ball was put out wide to Grimmer, he pushed past his marker to the by-line and hit a lovely inviting ball across goal but no one is there to turn it home.
Southend were reduced to 10 men with just under 25 minutes of the game remaining, the ball went out wide to Grimmer who took the ball past Timlin who caught the Town man, the assistant was signalling for a foul straight away and ref Sarginson saw enough to produce a second yellow for Timlin who was sent off.
It was 10 men Southend who got their noses back in front, they got in behind the Town defence and the ball was pulled back to the back post to find Hendrie who fired home from close range to make it 2-1 to the visitors.
With just under 10 minutes to go Micky Mellon changed things around with Scott Vernon coming on to replace Zak Whitbread, Knight-Percival and Smith went to the two centre-backs as Town pushed for the deserved equaliser.
Town were finishing strongly and were creating chances to get level and Southend were picking up the yellow cards. The pressure from Town was strong but Southend were showing why they have been at the right end of League 1 for the first half of the season. The visitors were digging in and doing the work to keep Town at bay.