19th December 2009
Exeter City 1 Southend United 0. Saturday 19 December 2009
The Moxey Report
On a bitterly cold afternoon at the Park City and Southend serve up a festive sizzler with City eventually running out 1-0 winners in front of a chilly 4,839 supporters.
City lined up: Paul Jones; Troy Archibald- Henville, Matt Taylor, Richard Duffy; Scott Golbourne, Ryan Harley, Alex Russell, Bertie Cozic, Steve Tully; Barry Corr, Adam Stansfield.
With Jones making a welcome return between the sticks City reverted to a 3-5-2 formation in the hope of ending a four match losing streak, and with that in mind it was City who had the better of the opening exchanges earning the first chance on goal in the eighth minute.
Stansfield was fouled just outside the box, so up stepped Harley to take the free kick, but unfortunately although on target it was easy pickings for the Southend keeper. However, he had little chance in the 16th minute when City took the lead. Arhcibald-Henville played the most delicious 60 yard cross field pass into the path of the racing Stansfield, just in front of the players' tunnel, whereby he controlled the ball expertly before scampering in on goal. Spotting the keeper back pedalling furiously, he smashed the ball over the keeper's outstretched palm and into the net via the far post to make it a 1-0 scoreline to City. A minute later City had the chance to increase their lead when Russell had a 25-yard free kick that he rolled sideways to Harley. However once again Harley didn't make the most of it screwing his shot well wide of the far post. With Southend pressing City hard, it was a good ten minutes before City could fashion anything of note, this time with Golbourne racing down the left before dinking the ball inside to Harley who, with the keeper rushing out, poked the ball inches wide of the post from about 15-yards. On the half hour City once again broke quickly when Harley spotted Tully flying down the right. Despite intense pressure from a number of defenders Harley set Tully on his way where his drilled cross earned City a rare corner. City's best move, however, came right on the stroke of half time the ball broke to Cozic in the centre of the Park and with attackers outnumbering defenders Golbourne was almost away in acres of space for a free run on goal had the referee's whistle not ended the move for the half time break.
But instead of City carrying on where they left off at the start of the second half, it was all Southend, albeit without troubling Jones unduly. Indeed it was fully ten minutes before City got the ball in the opposition half, although in the end Stansfield's quick break fizzled out to nothing. With their tails well and truly up Southend finally had a chance on goal worth reporting, although as it turned out Barnard's glancing header ended up going straight into the midriff of the perfectly placed Jones. Russell was then substituted for Dunne, but rather worryingly holding his thigh rather than as a tactical move, so lets hope it's more precautionary rather than anything serious. But back to the action and once again City's threat came from rare breaks against the run of play. This time Harley, Stansfield and Corr combined for Corr to earn City a corner. Which was Corr's last positive contribution to the game as in the 64th minute after tangling with Shrimpers' midfielder Anthony Grant appeared to kick out at Grant sending him crashing to the turf. The referee had little choice than to brandish a straight red card. Ironically it spurred City on to take the game to Southend, instead of being content to try and soak up seemingly endless pressure as midway through the half Stansfield and Dunne worked hard down the right before Dunne was fouled ten yards in from the touchline deep inside Shrimper territory. Harley whipped over the free kick where Tully found himself completely unmarked ten-yards out, but could only direct his header into the ground and into the keeper's grateful grasp. In the 70th minute came more worries for City as Archibald-Henville limped off with a calf injury to be replaced by Rob Edwards, but this was definitely precautionary according to manager Tisdale in his post match interview, also stating Troy would be available for the Boxing Day game at Southampton. Just before the half hour Duffy smartly intercepted a slack pass in centre circle bursting forward before playing the ball into Harley, but after shimmying past a wrong footed defender spoilt it all by blasting his 30-yard effort high and wide onto the Big Bank. Then with 15 minutes to go Jabo Iberhe shoved Duffy to the floor way off the ball and found himself on the end of an equally deserving red card. So with both teams now reduced to ten men the game really opened up and the final quarter of an hour was proper end to end stuff. First off the keeper almost gifted City a second making a complete hash of collecting a ball near the edge of his area. With Stansfield bearing down he took a couple of attempts to get the ball under control, and was lucky not spill it straight to the City strikerThen Stansfield found himself with a more conventional opportunity when chasing a lost cause towards the touchline. Robbing a flapping defender, Stansfield found himself striding majestically towards goal with only the keeper to beat, unfortunately he beat the far post too as his edge of the box drive slammed wastefully wide. It wasn't all City by any stretch though, as at full time a Southend corner found its way out to Jeanyves Mvoto lurking on the edge of the box. His fierce drive was driven well through a crowd of players, but once again Jones was perfectly positioned to make it look an easy collect. Agonisingly there were five further minutes of stoppage time to endure, and three minutes into that additional time a Stansfield break gave him, Golbourne and Harley a brief three on two, but in the end City had to settle for a corner. And not a bad corner it was either, as the final action of a pulsating and nerve wracking final 20 minutes was for the ball to find its way out to Dunne stationed 20- yards out where he cannoned a dipping drive narrowly wide.
Referee: Roger East
Attendance 4839 with 264 away fans.
BBC match summary and information
Exeter City ended a run of four losses on the trot with a win over Southend United in a game which saw both teams end the game with 10 men. Adam Stansfield scored the eventual winner when he latched on to a Troy Archibald-Henville pass and lofted the ball over keeper Steve Mildenhall. Exeter were reduced to 10 men after Barry Corr was sent off, following an off-the-ball incident. But Southend also lost a man when Jabo Ibehre clashed with Richard Duffy.
Exeter City manager Paul Tisdale told BBC Radio Devon:
"It was well deserved. It was somewhat different to how we imagine ourselves playing sometimes but it was a fantastic effort from the players. "It was very sweet because we really had to work hard for that and we've come away with a very important three points. "We tend to score more good goals than scrappy goals. "That's sort of the personality of the team and it was a really good goal."
Southend United manager, Steve Tilson told BBC Essex:
"I felt again we had more possession than they had and deserved something out of the game. "We have to be more clinical, like last Saturday against Hartlepool. "Obviously, they have worked every minute of the game and they went ahead against the run of play. "We came out second half and they just sat back and soaked up the pressure."