Off-colour Shrimpers settle for play-offs
SOUTHEND manager Phil Brown conceded the Shrimpers’ slim hopes of automatic promotion are over after slumping to defeat against mid-table AFC Wimbledon at Roots Hall.
The Shrimpers, who remain sixth in the League Two table, had been hoping to secure a fourth successive victory.
But their former loanee Jack Midson bagged the only goal of a largely uneventful game, leaving Brown targeting a play-off place.
“I’m bitterly disappointed because things just didn’t fall our way out there,” said the Shrimpers chief.
“I don’t think you can fault the players for effort and we got crosses in to the box, we had chances but it just didn’t go in.
“The way the penalty squirmed under Daniel Bentley’s body also summed up our day to be honest.
“Automatic promotion is out of our reach now but we have four games to go to try and make sure of a place in the play-offs now and that’s exactly what we will be aiming to do.
“We’re playing against some of the top teams but I think that might actually suit us because they will be wanting a real game of football.”
Wimbledon, who had gone three games without a win, came closest to scoring in the first half when Kwesi Appiah saw his close range shot superbly saved by Shrimpers goalkeeper Daniel Bentley.
However, Bentley was beaten in the 58th minute when Midson’s weak penalty squeezed under the goalkeeper’s body and rolled in to the back of the net.
The spot-kick had been given after John Egan had brought down Appiah inside the penalty area.
But Egan soon almost made amends with a well struck 30-yard shot which visiting goalkeeper Ross Worner did well to tip around the right post.
Ryan Leonard then flashed a half volley across the face of goal before substitute Barry Corr then also headed a half chance wide of the opposite upright but Southend rarely threatened.
“I thought we were great, we showed real heart out there because it's never an easy place to come to for any team,” said Dons boss Neal Ardley.
“It’s one win but we need to keep pushing on and secure our place in League Two.
“These players need a leader at the club and I'm trying to be that person for them. Our two centrehalves were superb even though Andy Frampton had a niggle halfway through the game.
“The work rate throughout is unbelievable and I can’t fault them we now take this result into our next games.”
STAR MAN RYAN LEONA