The return of Neil Young meant a switch of full backside for Stephen Purches, otherwise it was a case of same again, a policy that has certainly started producing results.
Having just scored a hatfull in their previous match Southend were confident and keen to make amends for the defeat two weeks earlier. They started brightly with Graeme Jones looking particularly keen up-front and some good linking through the midfield. Southend seemed to be playing with more width and this was proving beneficial as Young and Purches were targeted as potential weaknesses. Purches blocked on the line from a Jones shot as a Southend corner caused confusion in the box. With most of the match being contested in midfield, penalty area incidents were at a premium although Marcus Browning almost got to an Elliott cross that was flashed across the penalty area.
Shortly after taking quite a nasty bash to the face, Karl Broadhurst extended has goal scoring streak to two with a forceful far post header after Gareth O'Connor had whipped in a free kick with his right foot.
0 - 1 at Half Time.
It was all guns blazing for Southend after the break as the shrimpers pushed for the equaliser. Jones got the wrong side of the back four and although Neil Moss saved Jones's shot and Rawle fired over from the re-bound when he really should have done better with the goal gaping. Rawle did a lot better ten minutes later when Neil Moss spilt a corner and Rawle tucked home from a couple of yards. Moss complained that he was fouled; however his main weakness, probably accounting for how he is now fourth choice at Southampton is his erratic form on crosses.
Either side could have won with Hayter and Purches both shooting just wide when in promising position and Jason Tindall (on for Danny Thomas) headed over at the death. Graeme Jones when down in instalments, trying to gain a spit kick when staying on his feet seemed the sensible option and another corner caused panic but was eventually cleared.
Overall, the result was probably fair with the performance level much improved from the previous meeting. Time to put those stilettos back into storage until next season!
AFCB: Moss, Young, C Fletcher, Broadhurst, Purches, Elliott, O'Connor, Browning, Thomas, S Fletcher, Hayter
Subs: Stewart, Tindall (for Thomas on 85 mins), Narada, Foyewa, Holmes
Phil Henstridge, Warwickshire