Controversial Referee cost us the game

So we arrived at a Sunbathed but windy Roots Hall on the back of a home defeat and really in need of the three points to make it a reasonable start to the season. I am really one of the Old brigade who base quite a bit on the “bogey grounds” thing whereby I don’t have many happy memories of visits there . I don’t know why this happens but it does so I did not hold great hopes for a result yesterday. For a change I think the line up was predictable even based on the improvement in the second half against Bolton. it was a new game against a side who would have been boosted by a 3-0 away win at Sheffield United and who possessed two well known strikers in Mooney and Cox. Using only two in the centre of defence and midfield may have been asking for trouble. The game as it turned out was what I would call a fairly even affair with us just edging it. To be honest it was ruined by many strange decisions and even more leniency by the refeee Gavin Ward. Each week I am astonished that the FA can actually manage to find a worst one than the week before!!

Mildenhall 6
For those who don’t rate him have a look at the majority of goals scored yesterday in Leagues 1 and 2 and in particular the Gillingham keeper Nelson and I think DC has a difficult task to find a better keeper. Couple of hesistant moments but overall a sound game.

Leadbitter 7
For me his best performance of the season although I wish he could improve his final ball. His pace troubled Southend but the lack of a full back in the formation was exposed at times in the second half.

J. Clarke 7
Another good performance in a solid back three. Good shot in the first half went narrowly wide.

Lockyer 7 Usual steady performance. Should probably have scored from a header.

Hartley 7.5 MOM
My pick of the back four. Never stops talking and calm under pressure. Looks like he is getting fitter and could be a good acquisition. Great to see a goal from a centre half- it’s been a long wait and I think there will be more to come from him. Perhaps he will be the answer to my thread on the last signing to be better than what we had.

Brown 6.5
Not one of his best games. Caught for pace too often and Southend seemed to get behind us too often in the second half on that side as Southend pushed the extra player forward to counteract and get around the back three.

O. Clarke 6.5
held his own in midfield battles but as with our midfield in general this may have been down to Southend being very much based on speedy attacks down the flanks rather than having a strong midfield. They look; like ourselves ;lacking that bit of quality in their side. Brought a good save from their keeper just before half time when his long strike looked to be creeping in.

Lines 7
OK he show boated a fair few passes rather than give the easy ball but he was involved in most that was good about us and hit a tremendous drive that cleared the post by inches in the second half. This is a much more industrious Chris Lines than we saw last season and his driving runs are becoming regular now rather than sporadic.

Sinclair 6.5
His best performance so far. He ran, hassled,battled and played the ball simply

Taylor 5.5
Not at the races yesterday without really the service he needs to do what he does best. Still would have left him on and who kn ows what would have happened in the goalmouth scrambles that occurred at the end as he is always aa our best hope of a goal.

Harrison 6.5
Played OK worked hard but for me there is something missing in his game and his pace just doesn’t seem to get him either through or in goalscoring positions.

Subs: Easter 6
brought on up top in place of Taylor but did that increase our chances of scoring? I don’t think so and would have preferred to see Luke James and see Easter replace either Sinclair or Ollie Clarke to give our front players that little bit more creativity.

Gaffney 6
showed some good control and a bit of physicality to our attack but one woeful pass to the invisible man on the left touchline and I feel should have at least got his shot on target at the death.

Crowd 7
Well their supporters kept going all through even if the vocal levels were not great. Probably about 450 gasheads there but didn’t hear the official number so that’s a guess.

Ref 2
What more can I say other than lucky to get a mark at all. Their no 11 5 fouls three of which were worst than the one foul by Ollie Clake. Ollie Clarke booked their chap booked for his fifth foul- joke. Penalty decision well ive seen it on TV and it still does not look a penalty and then their player pretty well saves the ball with his hands (not in the penalty area and we don’t even get a free kick. This was how this referee went on through the game – lenient to the home side and wanted to be the centre of attention by prolonging the game with his irritating talks to players. Christ I thought we left this standard behind in the Conference.

DC Not surprised that it was back to the wingbacks in this game and probably got it right as it is certainly a better away game strategy. The thing I love about watching DC’s sides is that you will rarely see him trying to hang on for a well earned point and his substitutions are always positive. I am not at all surprised that he was angry at the end as the referee certainly gave us a very hard time and probably robbed us of a just deserved win. We have hard working players who give 100% for the club and if DC can bring in his 3-4 players and give this side more creativity and quality then we can hold our own in this division as there are lots of teams in this division who will be like Southend and Oxford and not very many who will be like Bolton.

Southend 6 For some reason I have always disliked Phil Brown the Southend Manager and was not at all surprised to see he said that our goal should have been disallowed and the referee was right to give a penalty. No doubt if asked he would have said all our bookings were warranted and his players did not get away with murder. Well Mr Brown you are managing at this level for a reason- You are dried up and past your sell by date. Southend were very average and similar to Oxford in many ways. Mooney and Simon Cox look way past their best thankfully and IMO we deserved to win this game- just. Southend did for my liking get down our lines too often in the second half where they brought on a pacy customer on the right wing.

So we move on to another away match in the League at Swindon where I see no reason why we shouldn’t compete favourably but really need the three points now with the postponement of the Walsall home game as 7 out of 15 will be a reasonable start. No…I haven’t forgotten that we have that bonus game on Tuesday so bring it on and heres hoping we can give a good account of ourselves whatever the opposition. UTG

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