PHIL FRIES ‘SHOCKING’ SHRIMPERS

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Richard Latham

F URIOUS Phil Brown la­belled his play­ers’ per­for­mance ‘dis­hon­est’ as Southend lost ground in the League One pro­mo­tion race.

The man­ager was seething, having seen his side con­cede in­side a minute, and ac­cepted they should have been dead and buried by the in­ter­val.

Brown made a dou­ble sub­sti­tu­tion after only 37 min­utes with Southend 2-0 down and was in no way pla­cated by an im­proved sec­ond-half dis­play.

There were raised voices in the vis­it­ing dress­ing room after the game be­fore the boss emerged to say: “I was dis­gusted with my team’s per­for­mance in the first half and that led to the early changes.

“The way we played re­ally shocked me. The only pos­i­tive was that I was able to get 65 min­utes out of Nile Ranger and Stephen McLaugh­lin as substitutes, which I didn’t ex­pect.

“You saw an hon­est per­for­mance from Bris­tol Rovers and a dis­hon­est dis­play from my play­ers.

“It seems as though there are a few lads in our dress­ing room who ac­tu­ally fear get­ting pro­mo­tion, which has to be a con­cern.”

Rovers needed only 55 seconds to take the lead, Billy Bodin cut­ting in from the right to bury a left­footed shot into the bot­tom cor­ner.

Rory Gaffney dou­bled the ad­van­tage from a sim­i­lar po­si­tion on 37 min­utes via the in­side of the far post with a right-footed strike.

Rovers might have been out of sight by half-time as Chris Lines and Cris­tian Mon­tano went close, while Southend goal­keeper Ted Smith made fine saves from Mon­tano and Gaffney.

At the other end Southend of­fered a threat with Joe Lum­ley sav­ing from Michael Tim­lin and Marc An­toine-For­tune.

But Brown had seen enough by the 37th minute when he sent on Ranger and McLaugh­lin for For­tune and Will Atkinson.

The sec­ond half saw Southend con­trol pos­ses­sion with­out end prod­uct. Lum­ley made one no­table save, turn­ing away a Simon Cox free­kick. At the other end Rovers hit a post through Luke James and never looked like con­ced­ing their lead.

Man­ager Dar­rell Clarke said: “I was as pleased with the way we de­fended as the chances we cre­ated. “Joe Lum­ley did make an im­por­tant stop at a vi­tal stage of the game, which is some­thing he has brought to the team. We have been de­fend­ing well in front of him for weeks. “Billy Bodin and Rory Gaffney have pro­duced great strikes for the goals and, even though Southend hit back after the break, we still cre­ated the bet­ter chances. “How far can we go? Put it this way. We al­ready have more points with nine games left than the club achieved the last time they were pro­moted to League One.”

PIC­TURES: Gary Lear­mouth/ProS­ports

HIT THE GAS: Rory Gaffney cel­e­brates scor­ing Rovers’ sec­ond, in­set

SEETHING: Southend man­ager Phil Brown

STAR MAN RORY GAFFNEY Bris­tol Rovers

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