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Match Reports

REPORT: TOWN 0-0 SOUTHEND UNITED

2 January 2017

Town opened 2017 with a point after being held to a 0-0 draw by Southend United at The County Ground earlier this afternoon.


Raphael Rossi-Branco nearly made it two goals in as many games but his close-range effort inside the opening ten minutes was brilliantly kept out by Ted Smith.


Chances were few and far between in a scrappy first-half and it remained scoreless heading in at the break.


There was far more action to digest in the second-half but a mixture of poor finishing and good goalkeeping ensured that it finished honours even between the two sides.


Town opted to change both their shape and some personnel for their opening game of the New Year with Anton Rodgers, James Brophy, Michael Doughty and John Goddard all being given the nod to start.


Goddard was tasked with providing the attacking impetus at the tip of a diamond midfield with Rodgers sitting in a holding role behind Doughty and Conor Thomas.


Jon Obika and Luke Norris led the line together with Tom Smith, Sean Murray and Jermaine Hylton dropping to the bench, while Nathan Thompson missed out with a foot injury.


With both sides keen to get off to a winning start in 2017, there was a frantic opening to proceedings with Town wasting little time in carving out the game’s first opportunity.


Anton Rodgers’ corner fell nicely at the feet of Raphael Rossi-Branco who set himself before unleashing a shot on goal, but Ted Smith was alert to produce a good stop to keep the scores level.


It was then Southend’s turn to attack with Marc-Antoine Fortune’s tame effort proving easy for Lawrence Vigouroux to deal with.


The game then became scrappy with action few and far between although the Reds were soon back on the attack.


Luke Norris did well to get away from his man and burst into a pocket of space, but his shot from distance flew way over the bar.


Norris was involved in the thick of the action yet again moments later as he clipped a cross into the box towards the head of Jon Obika, who could only nod over the crossbar under pressure.


It wasn’t all one-way traffic however as the Shrimpers twice attempted to flex their attacking muscles towards the end of the first-half.


Jason Demetriou fizzed an effort just past the post before Anthony Wordsworth’s shot also flew wide after Simon Cox failed to connect with the ball inside the area.


Michael Doughty then sent a deep cross onto the roof of the net after being picked out by Obika.


The latter sent a tame effort straight at Smith in the Southend goal shortly after the interval, before the visitors introduced former Town striker Nile Ranger into the action.


Both sides were struggling to grab the game by the scruff of the neck although chances were becoming more frequent.


Norris burst forward into the box but was stopped in his tracks by a brilliant tackle from Anton Ferdinand, while Vigouroux had to be at his best to tip Demetriou’s free-kick around the post.


Demetriou then stabbed wide before Obika warmed the palms of Smith with the match threatening to explode into life.


Town decided to throw on Sean Murray with Conor Thomas making way in a bid to add an extra weapon to their armoury with time ticking away.


And it was the home side who created the best chance of the game bang on the 75-minute mark after Doughty and Obika exchanged passes before the latter curled a shot inches wide.


That missed opportunity could have proved all so costly seconds later as Southend hit Town on the break, but Vigouroux was in top form to deny both Demetriou and Zavon Hines in quick succession.


The game was opening up at both ends of the pitch and the Shrimpers went close to breaking the deadlock again with Hines rattling the woodwork.


It was becoming frantic late on and Town were next to try their luck in-front of goal but Jermaine Hylton, who had replaced John Goddard moments before, could not force his effort past Smith before sending the rebound into the side netting.


Hylton had another bite of the cherry moments later but could only skew wide, and that proved to be the last real action of the game with Town having to settle for a share of the spoils.


TEAMS AND STATS:


TOWN - Vigouroux; Furlong, Rossi-Branco, Jones, Brophy; Rodgers, Thomas (Sean Murray 69), Doughty, Goddard (Jermaine Hylton 82); Norris, Obika (C).


Subs Not Used - Henry, Barry, Smith, Stewart, Delfouneso.


SOUTHEND UNITED - Smith; Demetriou, Thompson, Ferdinand (C), Timlin; Atkinson, Wordsworth (Jack Bridge 88), Leonard, McGlashan (Zavon Hines 65); Cox, Fortune (Nile Ranger 55).


Subs Not Used - Bexon, White, O’Neill, King.


Referee - Kevin Johnson


BOOKINGS:


TOWN - Anton Rodgers, Raphael Rossi-Branco.


SOUTHEND UNITED - Adam Thompson, Jason Demetriou.


ATTENDANCE - 7,102 (648 Away Fans). 


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