SOUTHEND United win 3-0 in style against mid-table AFC Wimbledon to now position themselves in the playoffs after Boxing Day at Roots Hall.
The Blues started the game with confidence when after just 10 minutes they took the lead through Simon Cox. Ryan Leonard’s long throw on the edge of the box was missed by the Wimbledon defence which made its way to Simon Cox who powered home a rising shot into the roof of the net. Their lead was nearly double six minutes later when Marc-Antoine Fortune’s deflected shot fell in to the path of Cox who’s effort hits the top of the bar.
However, their lead was soon doubled after 41 minutes by Will Atkinson who got his fourth goal of the season. Marc-Antoine Fortune with great play slotted in Atkinson who’s low shot rolled into the bottom right-hand corner, making it 2-0 as the first half came to a close.
Phil Brown believed Cox’s first goal showed great technique but states he needs to continue to step up.
“I thought his first goal was great technique. He gets himself a brace today and he needs to step up to the plate with regards to scoring goals, we’ve always said that. But, I think he will. I thought he would live off Nile Ranger to be brutally honest, but today he’s been more fruitful living off Marc-Antoine Fortune.”
The Southend Manager also expresses the good difficulties he is now facing.
“When you’ve got problems with regards to team selection then it’s great for a manager and that’s when I’ve got at the business end of the field.”
In the second half AFC Wimbledon stepped it up slightly after making a double change at half time. Tom Elliot and Tyrone Barnett both had early chances in the second half which were kept out by the by the strong defence and goalkeeping of Southend United.
However, in the 72nd minute of the game Wimbledon’s hard work was wasted when Lyle Taylor received a second yellow card leaving The Dons down to 10 men. It got worse for Wimbledon when their manager Neil Ardley was sent to stands.
It didn’t take long before Southend United capitalised on the mistakes from Wimbledon to finish the game off when Simon Cox bagged his second goal of the game 7 minutes from time. He caught the keeper; Shea, off his line and played a wonderful chip from distance to give the Blues maximum points.
Phil Brown reflected on the Blues performance and felt they controlled the game and his two centre-halves and goalkeeper deserve credit for their efforts in the second half and keeping a clean sheet.
“Our first half performance was very convincing. In the second half we knew they were gong to make some changes at half time and for 15 minutes they put us under a little bit of pressure, but not convincing pressure. They’re quite a direct team; they look for the striker early and quite often get a lot of returns from it. But, I thought our two centre-halves marshalled the threat of Elliot and Tyrone Barnett in the second half, and defensively I thought we were different class. Ted Smith more than anyone deserved his clean sheet.”
Southend United now move into the playoffs and continue their unbeaten run in the league to 11 games. They are next in action on New Years Eve for their final game of 2016 at home to Charlton Athletic.