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21:35 6th December 2011

Report: Southend 1 Town 2

A header from substitute Ronan Murray just two minutes after stepping off the bench was enough to secure the Robins a place in the Area Final of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy. After going in 0-0 at the break, Blair Sturrock had opened the scoring for the home side just after the hour before a quick reply from Paul Caddis prior to a deft header from Murray won the affair. Town boss Paolo Di Canio welcomed back Birmingham City loanee Jake Jervis into the line-up with the striker partnering Alan Connell up front. In total Di Canio made four changes to the starting eleven with Lander Gabilondo and Alessandro Cibocchi also coming in to the side in place of Raffaele De Vita and Liam Ridehalgh.

The home side went into the game on the back of a 17-game unbeaten run and had to do without the services of suspended duo Michael Timlin and Matt Phillips. Experienced frontman Neil Harris lined up alongside former Town striker Sturrock in attack for the Shrimpers. It was a cagey start to the game with neither side giving anything away in the opening quarter of an hour. Town's first opening came on 18 minutes with an effort from Jervis from the edge of the box drifting just wide. Wes Foderingham was called into action for the first time in the game on 23 minutes, producing a fine one handed save to tip over a powerful volley from Sturrock. The hosts went even closer moments later with a shot from Anthony Grant. Town were forced into an early change on 26 minutes with Connell struggling with injury and replaced by Lukas Magera. 

The Robins should have taken the lead on 34 minutes with a delightful cross from Gabilondo just put wide at the back post by Ritchie who had come off his wing to nod the ball agonisingly wide. Aden Flint, who was booked midway through the first half, came to his side's rescue with five minutes of the first half remaining with a great block to deny Luke Prosser. The half fizzled out with both sides failing to break the deadlock in what had been a largely uneventful first half of cup football. Neither manager made a change during the break with the first real action of the second half seeing a low shot from Risser blocked from close range with 50 minutes played following a neat cutback from substitute Magera. Chances were few and far between before the hour but the first goal of the night arrived with 63 minutes on the clock. A cross from the left by Sean Clohessy was not dealt with and found Sturrock who finished well from the edge of the six-yard box.

The equaliser came six minutes later and it was a much-needed response from the Robins who wasted little time in getting back on level terms. A purposeful run from Caddis saw the captain drive forward before hitting a 25-yard effort beyond Daniels, who seemed to be deceived by the flight of the ball. Di Canio then made further changes with Simon Ferry and Ronan Murray entering the action in place of Risser and Jervis. Murray made an immediate impression, taking just two minutes to change the game. A teasing cross from Gabilondo from the right was glanced into the far corner by the Ipswich loanee, who celebrated in front of the 334 Town fans behind the goal. The goal proved decisive as Town survived a late rally from the home side to book their place in the Southern Area Final of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy.

    Data provided by Press Association