The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Mike Sim­monds

SOUTHEND United cap­tain Adam Bar­rett is count­ing down the days un­til next week­end af­ter the Shrimpers put their pro­mo­tion hopes in their own hands by edg­ing past Lu­ton 1-0 at Roots Hall.

Phil Brown’s side were thank­ful to a howler from Hat­ters keeper El­liot Justham with nine min­utes re­main­ing as he fum­bled Michael Tim­lin’s weak ef­fort into net, mean­ing the Blues will go up if they win at More­cambe next week.

A draw might even be enough for United too, who had been re­duced to ten men on 75 min­utes when Ben Coker saw a du­bi­ous red card.

“We showed great char­ac­ter, we dug in with ten men fought for one an­other and there’s a real feel-good fac­tor com­ing back to the club which is fan­tas­tic,” said Bar­rett.

“Roll on next week now. Re­sults have gone our way, now it’s down to us and in our hands to put our- selves in that po­si­tion is lovely.

“It was great to be out there, a packed house, a lot rid­ing on it.

“We stuck to our task and cre­ated all the bet­ter chances. They’re a good side, they’ve come here and got to win the game to get the play-offs.

“We’ve got a bit of luck with the goal but we’ll take it, I think we de­served the win.”

The Hat­ters had a mar­vel­lous chance early on when the ball broke to for­mer Blues striker El­liot Lee, but he side-footed wide of the mark.

The vis­i­tors then were forced into an early change as Cameron McGee­han was re­placed by Shaun Whalley due to an el­bow in­jury, with Town keeper Justham de­flect­ing Barry Corr’s back heel away.

Corr was then de­nied by the stop­per once more, with his header well han­dled, be­fore the lively Whalley volleyed over from 20 yards.

Justham was the busier of the two num­ber ones, hang­ing on to Jake Cas­sidy’s long ranger, while Jake How­ells al­most broke the dead­lock, see­ing his low shot blocked.

Southend were re­duced to ten men on 67 min­utes when Coker clipped Whalley as he broke clear and was shown a straight red by ref­eree Iain Wil­liamson.

Whalley’s low curler was inches wide, be­fore Justham’s er­ror handed Southend the lead late on and although Scott Griffiths’ vol­ley was flipped over by Dan Bent­ley, they hung on to leapfrog Wy­combe into third with just one game re­main­ing.

Hat­ters boss John Still said: “It’s not nor­mal I don’t know what to say, but I thought ev­ery­thing about us was right.

“Un­for­tu­nately a young man who has come into the team and done re­mark­ably well has made a mis­take. Well, that’s all part and par­cel of foot­ball.

“We are des­per­ately dis­ap­pointed be­cause we be­lieve we found our form and felt we did ev­ery­thing right. “But games some­times hinge on a mo­ment of magic or a mis­take and un­for­tu­nately it was a mis­take.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Images

HUG ME: Michael Tim­lin cel­e­brates af­ter scor­ing Southend's first goal

GET AWAY: Southend play­ers re­mon­strate with ref­eree Iain Wil­liamson

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