SLICE & DICE SHRIMPERS

Wilder rev­els in lead­ers’ ‘big win’

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

SH­EFFIELD United man­ager Chris Wilder heaped huge sig­nif­i­cance on his side’s im­pres­sive win at Southend United.

The Blades’ tri­umph was their sixth in suc­ces­sion and Southend’s first de­feat in 14 League One matches.

And Wilder, whose team are now four points clear at the top of the ta­ble, could not have been hap­pier to con­demn the Shrimpers to their first league loss since Oc­to­ber.

“This was a big re­sult for us,” said Wilder.

“I know how dif­fi­cult it is to win at Southend be­cause I don’t think I’ve ever got a re­sult here be­fore.

“I’m a lit­tle bit dis­ap­pointed with their sec­ond goal though, be­cause we had chances to do some­thing about it.

“But our sec­ond-half per­for­mance took it to a dif­fer­ent level and we’ve shown a lot of good at­tributes.

“We got pegged back by their equaliser when we should have been 2-0 up af­ter five min­utes but then we re­ally took the game away from them in the sec­ond half.

“They are a dan­ger­ous side and they bat­tered us at our place.

“They have some good play­ers and I’m glad we don’t have to come here again this sea­son.

“Peo­ple would have been look­ing at Sh­effield United here and thought it could have gone ei­ther way so this is a big, big win but we won’t be get­ting away.”

Blades took the lead af­ter just three min­utes when Ethan Ebanks-Lan­dell headed home Mark Duffy’s left-wing cross from 12 yards.

Right wing-back Kieron Free­man then missed a great chance to make it 2-0 as he fired wide of the post when clean through on goal.

And the Shrimpers took ad­van­tage to equalise in the 19th minute when Si­mon Cox neatly con­trolled a pass from Marc-An­toine For­tune be­fore stroking an im­pres­sive shot into the bot­tom left-hand cor­ner of the net. Southend be­gan to en­joy their best spell of the game with An­thony Wordsworth hav­ing a 20-yard shot tipped over by Si­mon Moore.

But, af­ter sur­viv­ing the scare, the vis­i­tors re­gained the lead in the 42nd minute when an un­marked Jack O’Con­nell volleyed home Duffy’s deep right-wing free-kick from six yards.

Nei­ther side threat­ened at the start of the sec­ond half be­fore former Southend loan striker Caolan Lav­ery made it 3-1 in the 72nd minute with a pow­er­ful left footed shot fol­low­ing a goal­mouth scram­ble.

Four min­utes later, Lav­ery turned provider as his through ball en­abled Free­man to score for the third game in suc­ces­sion as he thun­dered a ris­ing shot into the roof of the net.

How­ever, the Shrimpers con­tin­ued to fight and net­ted an 88th-minute con­so­la­tion with sub­sti­tute Jer­maine McGlashan on tar­get be­fore Cox struck the bar with an­other ef­fort at the death.

But the late drama came too late to stop Southend suf­fer­ing their first de­feat since Oc­to­ber, much to the dis­ap­point­ment of their man­ager Phil Brown.

“The game was billed up as top against sev­enth with two in­form teams but one team turned up and one didn’t, which has sur­prised me,” said Brown.

“I changed the sys­tem to cope with them and maybe I was think­ing about them too much when I did that.

“I’ll have a look at all that but, at the end day, you can’t leg­is­late for the goals we gave away.

“Two of them were from set­pieces and that’s down to in­di­vid­u­als not the sys­tem.

“But it’s one de­feat in 14 games, our points re­turn in that run is Cham­pi­onship form and we need to see the right kind of re­ac­tion to this loss now.”

COOL: Jack O’Con­nell calmly slots home sh­effield United’s sec­ond just be­fore half-time

STAR MAN KIERON FREE­MAN Sh­effield Utd

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