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Southend United 2009

It was only six days since The Blues last fixture of the season had seen them finish just outside the play-offs in a respectable eighth position. The sun was shining on Southend as a twenty-three Blues fans arrived for the first ever Football Aid match to be held at Roots Hall.

Friday 8th May 2009
Southend United Home vs Southend United Away
K.O: 2.00pm
Legends: Steve Tilson and Paul Brush
Match Officials: Peter Munt, Peter Gill and Peter Cruise

The early action was confined to the middle third of the pitch as both teams adjusted to the difficult windy conditions. The opening goal arrived in the 10th minute and it went to the Away team – Paul Brush crossing it in from the left and Chris Gough ran in to smash the ball home after the ball had been bobbling around the box to make it one-nil.

A couple of minutes after the re-start, it was the Home side that broke from the centre of the park, the ball being played in front of Matt Gough, who ran towards the right edge of the box before shooting low into the far left corner to equalise. The game was quickly opening up and both sides were attacking in numbers and creating chances. It was almost a surprise therefore that it took until the 26th minute before the next goal arrived, this time courtesy of Christopher Pollock who, after receiving the ball inside the area, evaded his marker and curled a precise right foot shot inside the right post to give the Away side the lead once again. 

The old cliché that you are most vulnerable just after you have scored was proved correct yet again just five minutes later when the Home team levelled - Blues manager Steve Tilson providing the assist with a delicate chip to the back post after he had rounded the keeper giving Michael Sheern the simplest of headers. The action was showing no sign of slowing down, and within 3 minutes the Away team grabbed the lead for the third time in the match. Chris Gough ran through on goal, passed two defenders and shot with the outside of his right foot low into the net. 

The Away team switched off for a third time shortly after scoring, this time a mix up in defence resulted in Home Legend Steve Tilson managing to steal the ball and run into the box. Then the manager showed his undeniable skills by placing a curling shot with the outside of his left foot past the keeper and into the right hand side of the post to equalise. With only five minutes remaining in the first half the home team took the lead for the first time, when Stuart Jarrett was given the ball by Michael Sheern, with the midfielder then pushing the ball wide then shooting high into the net to make it 4-3.

On the stroke of half-time the Away side showed their fighting qualities as they battled back from a deficit and levelled up proceedings once again; Christopher Pollock scored his second goal when he ran in from the right of midfield, somehow keeping possession of the ball after a sliding block from the keeper and shooting into the unguarded net. 

Half Time: Southend United Home 4 – 4 Southend United Away

The second half began in much the same fashion as the first; in the 52nd minute Away captain, Phil Brown, played the ball in to substitute Ben Norton who hit a curling left footed shot at goal, only to see his attempt cannon back off the crossbar!

With the match delicately poised it was the Home side that opened the scoring in the second half when they were awarded a penalty. It was Mark Maguire that both won and converted the penalty after being brought down by a heavy challenge from keeper, Gareth Pugh. The penalty was taken with Maguire hitting the spot kick low and hard into the bottom left corner. The lead was almost extended moments later when Michael Sheern hit a powerful shot from the edge of the box that was well parried by Gareth Pugh.

In the seventy-second minute it was the Home keeper, Nick Enright, who proved his worth when he pulled off a great double save; first denying Christopher Pollock’s attempted chip as he went to ground, then picking himself up, blocking Daryl Savage's follow up effort at his near post. It was very much a case of ‘whatever you can do, I can do better’ from the keepers as two minutes later Gareth Pugh brilliantly saved single handed from a fierce Tilson shot at his near post.

With both keepers in inspired form it took something special to get the next goal. Paul Brush delivered a perfect cross to the right of the goal for Daryl Savage to hit a spectacular volley with the outside of his right foot back across goal and into the corner of the net in which was a truly brilliant equalising goal. In what was proving to be a fantastic game of football, the Home side regained the lead just minutes later when Michael Belzko received the ball just outside the area and played a cracking left foot shot past the diving Nick Enright into the left of goal.

There had never been more than a single goal separating the two teams, so it came as no surprise when Away Team striker Chris Gough was played in by a great through ball from the midfield, only to then hold off Steve Jarrett’s challenge and shoot under the despairing keeper to equalise at six-a-piece. Both teams had chances to take the win in the final fifteen minutes, but it was fitting that such a dramatic match went down to penalties. 

Full Time: Southend United Home 6 – 6 Southend United Away

Penalties: Southend United Home WIN 6 – 5 on penalties.

Home Team: Enright, Steve Jarrett, Tilson, Marsh, Price, Bancroft, Gough, Stuart Jarrett,
Maguire, Maclure, Sheern, Belzko

Away Team: Pugh, Pevreall, Brush, Gough, Metcalf, Brown, Savage, Thorpe, Gough, Joe Norton, Pollock, Ben Norton, Van Wezel

Man of the Match (home): Mark Maguire
Man of the Match (away): Gareth Pugh
Moment of the Match: Daryl Savage