SOUTHEND United get their first win of the season after goals from Hopper and Cox help defeat Bradford.
The Blues started the better of the two teams with Timothee Dieng – who used to play for Bradford – headed just over the bar from a corner inside the first couple of minutes. Southend continued their bright side when Tom Hopper was fouled on the edge of the box, but the resulting free-kick taken by Ben Coker was straight at Richard O’Donnell in the Bradford net.
The Shrimpers came close again when Stephen McLaughlin’s low shot from 25-yards was fired just wide of the right post. Despite all the early pressure from Southend, Mark Oxley was forced in a strong save from a well-struck shot by Eoin Doyle.
The home side however, remained on top with two chances missed by Michael Kightly, with one resulting in the Bradford goalkeeper having to tip the ball over the bar. Southend thought they had taken the lead just before half-time when Hopper headed in from close range from McLaughlin’s deflected shot however, it was correctly ruled out for offside.
After going in at half-time level, Southend again started off the better team. The Blues came close to taking the lead when O’Donnell tipped a shot from John White over the bar from close range, after a scramble in the box from Coker’s free kick.
Finally after 52 minutes, Southend got the goal they deserved when a lovely looped cross by Kightly, was headed in to the bottom left hand corner by Hopper to give the Shrimpers the lead.
It wasn’t long before Southend doubled their lead when Simon Cox headed home from close range after a beautifully weighted cross by Coker.
Jack Payne – who made 77 appearances for the Blues – didn’t make much of an impact for Bradford against his old club and was substituted just before the hour.
That didn’t stop Southend who nearly made it 3-0 in the 68th minute when, Cox chipped the goalkeeper but it came agonisingly back off the bar. Bradford went straight down the other end and thought they had got a goal back however, the tap in from Eoin Doyle was ruled out for offside.
Bradford came close with 10 minutes to go when Jordan Gibson was put through on goal, however Mark Oxley was quick off his line to stop the substitute before clearing the danger.
Southend saw the game out well, preventing Bradford from pulling one back late on and were fully deserving of their first win of the season as well as their first clean sheet of the season too.
– Attendance 6295, with 400 from Bradford.