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18:27 30th January 2010

Report: Southend United 2 Town 2

Get an insider's view of Swindon Town F.C every Monday with Gordon Greer's Blog. The Town skipper reacts to the weekend's performance and looks forward to the week ahead. Click on 'News', then 'Blogs' to read the latest entry. Town will be disappointed to have only claimed a point from Roots Hall this afternoon, after a frantic last 10 minutes saw them concede two scrappy goals. A dominant Town side made a dream start to the match, with former Southend striker Billy Paynter opening the scoring within a minute's play. Kevin Amankwaah was allowed time and space to chip the ball towards Paynter at the back post, and, following a misjudgement from Jean Yves-M'voto, Paynter was allowed time and space to roll the ball into the bottom corner. Southend finally came alive inside ten minutes, when Simon Francis sprayed the ball across to Francis Laurent on the edge of the box, who controlled it well and volleyed past Phil Smith only to see the ball clip the bar and go over the top. More poor defending from the hosts allowed Charlie Austin in for Town's second, as debutant Pat Baldwin's clearance cannoned off Simon Ferry and through to the unmarked Austin, who was allowed a similar amount of time as Paynter had been, and produced a near carbon copy finish to make it two and put Town in control. The hosts began to find their feet as the half progressed, keeping possession as best they could, but still only looking threatening from set pieces. However, Town were still looking the likeliest to score, with Austin and Paynter looking dangerous, and Simon Ferry typically busy in the middle of the park. As the half drew to a close Town looked in complete control, and the gulf in confidence and strength was all too evident, as the visitors stroked the ball around with a swagger, and most Southend players looked edgy in possession in front of an increasingly impatient home crowd. Even at the half way stage there looked to be only one likely winner as the home side were booed from the pitch by their home fans. Southend boss Steve Tilson made two changes at half time, with Damian Scannell and Scott Spencer being introduced in an effort to freshen things up for his side. Danny Ward could have made it three early on in the half for Town, but his shot stung the gloves of Steve Mildenhall from close range and looped wide. Tilson's changes did begin to have an impact for the hosts, with Scannell especially looking dangerous from the left wing, not least when setting up fellow substitute Spencer who headed over the bar when unchallenged in the box. The home sides continued to look better organised in the second period, and were undoubtedly more of a threat than they had been in the first. As the floodlights began to take effect, the hosts were looking the most likely to score, and went close with both Laurent and Spencer who should have done better, and Phil Smith did well to deny both Spencer and Scott Vernon. It was a much improved second half showing from the Shrimpers, and they pulled a deserved goal back late on when Simon Francis' free-kick was saved by Phil Smith and Scott Spencer scrambled in the loose ball. More impressive work from Scannell on the right saw the diminutive winger lift a ball across the box and in went Pat Baldwin to bundle the ball over the line and claim an improbable point for the hosts. Danny Wilson will be bitterly disappointed to have thrown away two points in a match that his side dominated for 75 minutes, but Town's unbeaten run in 2010 continues.
SOUTHEND UNITED 2 (Spencer '84, Baldwin '88) SWINDON TOWN 2 (Paynter '1, Austin '11) Southend United: Steve Mildenhall; Simon Francis, Jean-Yves M'Voto (Scannell '45), Adam Barrett (Capt.), Pat Baldwin, Scott Malone; Anthony Grant, (Herd '71) Jean-Francois Christophe, Franck Moussa (Spencer '45); Scott Vernon, Francis Laurent Substitutes: Daniel Bentley (GK), Scott Spencer, Johnny Herd, Dougie Freedman, Osei Sankofa, Damian Scannell, Matt Paterson Swindon Town: Phil Smith; Kevin Amankwaah, Scott Cuthbert, Gordon Greer (Capt.), Lecsinel Jean-Francois; Jon-Paul McGovern, Simon Ferry, Jonathan Douglas, Danny Ward; Charlie Austin (Timlin '86), Billy Paynter Substitutes: Jakub Jesionkowski (GK), Michael Timlin, Craig Easton, Sean Morrison, Nathan Thompson, Mark Marshall, Lloyd Macklin Bookings: Greer '84 Attendance: 6669 (523 away) Referee: Mr D J Phillips 2.15pm - The teams are in. The injured David Lucas watches as Phil Smith warms up with goalkeeping coach George Wood. The Southend goalkeepers are being put through their paces away from the troublesome South Stand goal mouth, which is covered in sand in an effort to thaw the area before kick off. 2.25pm - Southend mascots 'Elvis the Eel' and 'Sammy the Shrimp' begin their pre-match atmosphere-raising tour of the pitch. 'Sammy' especially is less a jovial morale boosting character, more the protagonist in a young child's nightmare. 3pm - The match kicks off with Town shooting towards the South Stand sand pit. 3pm - GOAL! Billy Paynter puts Town in front within a minute! Kevin Amankwaah surged into space, and lifted the ball over towards Paynter, who controlled the ball well on his chest after Jean-Yves M'Voto had misjudged a header, and rolled the ball calmly into the corner past Steve Mildenhall. A dream start for Town. 3.08pm - Southend come alive, as an impressive cross field pass from Simon Francis finds Francis Laurent, who lifts the ball neatly over Scott Cuthbert, and volleys powerfully past Phil Smith, but theball grazes the cross bar and goes over. 3.09pm - Steve Mildenhall collects a cross comfortably, but throws straight to Jonathan Douglas on the edge of the centre circle, but the Irishman's snap shot loops over Mildenhall and wide. 3.10pm - GOAL! Charlie Austin makes it two, as a clearance fro Baldwin hits Simon Ferry and loops through to Austin, who has acres of space to roll the ball under Mildenhall into the net. A local journalist exclaims, 'if this was Championship Manager, you'd turn it off and start again wouldn't you?' 3.18pm - Southend full back Scott Malone takes a speculative effort from a 25 yard free kick, but Phil Smith watches calmly as the ball flies over the bar. 3.22pm - The game moves into a quiet period as Southend begin to find their feet after their nightmare start. 3.32pm - Lecsinel Jean-Francois catches the shaky M'Voto napping on Town's right and crosses low for Paynter, who rolls his shot just wide. The striker is ruled offside, but the move is further evidence of what has looked a brittle home defence thus far. 3.36pm - JP McGovern does well to hold off a challenge and crosses deep for Paynter, but he can only head straight at Mildenhall. 3.37pm - McGovern plays the ball into Paynter on the edge of the box, who in turn lays it off to Danny Ward in space, but the youngster can only drag it wide on his weaker right foot. HALF TIME Southend United 0 Town 2 4.05pm - The second half kicks off. Damian Scannell and Scott Spencer replace Jean-Yves M'voto and Franck Moussa as the hosts move to a 4-4-2 formation. 4.09pm - A neat interchange between Paytner and Austin sees the Scouser lay the ball through to Danny Ward who has time to let rip with a powerful drive, but Mildenhall does well to save from point blank range. 4.18pm - JP McGovern plays the ball out to Ferry on the edge of the box, and he takes a shot from 20 yards but can't keep it down. 4.20pm - McGovern swings in a corner from the left, and Lecsinel Jean-Francois stoops to meet it, but his header loops narrowly over the bar. 4.23pm - Scannell beats Paynter on the left and chips in a good cross for Scott Spencer, who meets the ball well but can only nod it over the top of Phil Smith's goal. 4.26pm - McGovern swings in another corner which is met by Scott Cuthbert, and his looping header hits the bar and goes over. 4.28pm - Kevin Amankwaah hits an impressive first time pass through to Ward, who controls the ball well, but can only shoot straight at Mildenhall from the corner of the box. 4.31pm - Mildenhall's clearance somehow bounces through to Scott Vernon who finds himself one on one with Phil Smith, but te keeper does well to steal the ball from his feet. 4.32pm - Danny Ward squirms away from a challenge on the byline, and shoots with his right foot from a tight angle, but Mildenhall is again equal to his shot and palms it away. 4.33pm - Southend's best chance of the match goes begging, as Francis Laurent goes past Jean-Francois, cuts into the box, and shoots straight at Phil Smith from close range. 4.35pm - A deep cross from Malone is met well by Vernon at the back post, but he heads straight at Smith. The hosts are currently enjoying their best spell of the match. 4.36pm - After a decent spell of pressure from the home side, Town break, and McGovern whips in a cross from the left which is met by Paynter who heads narrowly over. 4.43pm - GOAL! Simon Francis' curling free-kick is palmed away by Phil Smith, and Scott Spencer manages to scramble the ball over the line. 4.45pm - SUBSTITUTION: Michael Timlin replaces Charlie Austin. 4.48pm - GOAL! Southend are back on level terms, as the impressive Scannell loops the ball into the box and Pat Baldwin bundles it over the line. 4.50pm - Cuthbert meets another McGovern corner well but heads over the bar. FULL TIME Southend United 2 Town 2
    Data provided by Press Association