BARRETT: ROLL ON NEXT WEEK
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.”
HUG ME: Michael Timlin celebrates after scoring Southend's first goal
GET AWAY: Southend players remonstrate with referee Iain Williamson