The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Chris Phillips

SOUTHEND United goal­keeper Daniel Bent­ley equalled a club record with his tenth con­sec­u­tive home clean sheet.

Bent­ley, who has not con­ceded a goal at Roots Hall since Oc­to­ber, was watched in the stands by for­mer Shrimpers goal­keeper Mervyn Caw­ston who set the record dur­ing the 1980/81 sea­son.

And Southend boss Phil Brown was full of praise for the 21-year-old’s achieve­ment.

“One day the chair­man will flat­ten this place and build a new sta­dium but if some­one can ever em­u­late that record then it will take some do­ing be­cause it’s phe­nom­e­nal,” said Brown.

“We’ve put a sign up in the dress­ing room say­ing ‘fortress Roots Hall’ and that’s what we’re mak­ing it be­cause teams are strug­gling to score against us.

“Dan has been vir­tu­ally im­pec­ca­ble all sea­son, I can only re­mem­ber one slight mis­take he’s made which is fan­tas­tic and the longer we can keep hold of him the bet­ter.”

Bent­ley’s lat­est clean sheet helped to se­cure a third win in a row for the fifth-placed Shrimpers who re­main five points be­hind third-placed Wy­combe Wan­der­ers.

In-form Barry Corr bagged his ninth goal in 11 games to en­sure all three points but it was Bent­ley tak­ing cen­tre stage early on as he kept out Kay­ode Ode­jayi’s close-range shot.

Mo­ments later, the shot-stop­per also did well to tip a 20-yard strike from Danny Holmes wide of the right post be­fore Corr popped up to score his 15th goal of the sea­son. The Ir­ish­man was picked out by Will Atkin­son’s right-wing cor­ner in the 38th minute and made no mis­take with a neat, near-post fin­ish.

Af­ter the break, Southend re­mained on top with Atkin­son and Adam Bar­rett go­ing close with head­ers be­fore Tran­mere be­gan to fight back.

Sec­ond from bot­tom Rovers en­joyed plenty of the ball but for­mer Southend mid­fielder Marc Laird headed wide their best chance late on.

They re­main a point be­hind Hartle­pool United, who sit just above the drop zone, with four games to go.

But boss Micky Adams felt his side should be en­cour­aged by their dis­play.

“I didn’t think we looked like a rel­e­ga­tion-threat­ened side in this game and we need to keep that go­ing in the last four matches now,” said Adams.

“They’re go­ing to de­cide our fate but it’s dis­ap­point­ing to have been beaten here.

“It could’ve been dif­fer­ent if we had some­one get­ting across the keeper on a cou­ple of oc­ca­sions and if we had a bit more qual­ity in the fi­nal third.

“We also had a virus in the squad which forced us into chang­ing the team around.

“Iain Hume was due to play but we had to send him home and it was far from ideal.

“We’re cer­tainly up against it but we will keep on fight­ing in all of the games we have left to play.”

SOUTHEND UNITED (4-4-2): Bent­ley 7, White 6, Bol­ger 7, Bar­rett 7, Coker 6, Atkin­son 8, Dee­gan 6, Tim­lin 7, McLaugh­lin 6 (Wor­rall 72, 6), Cas­sidy 6, Corr 7 (Pig­ott 69, 6) Subs not used: T Smith, We­ston, Hurst, Payne, Bin­nom-Wil­liams TRAN­MERE ROVERS (5-3-2): Fon Wil­liams 6, Holmes 6, Ihiekwe 6, Thomp­son (Myrie Wil­liams 61, 5), Dona­cien 6, Tay­lor 5, Power 5 (Donnelly 61, 5), Jen­nings 5, Laird 6, Ode­jayi 4, Stock­ton 5 (Kirby 72, 5) Subs not used: Ride­halgh, Molyneux, Shuker, Bre­zo­van


FULL STRETCH: Daniel Bent­ley tips over the bar for Southend

HUD­DLE: Southend cel­e­brate their open­ing goal


ON Southe


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