Yeovil Town went down to a heavy defeat at Huish Park this afternoon, as self-inflicted errors allowed Southend United to grab all three points in a match that ended with a comfortable 3-0 win for the Shrimpers. Goals from Lee Barnard and Peter Clarke in the first half set the visitors on their way, and salt was rubbed into the wounds midway through the second half when Mark Gower headed home.
With such a dispirited ending, it's easy to forget that the Glovers started the game the stronger. Dominating the first 20 minutes, as they kicked matters off with a 4-3-3 formation, they got early chances that fell to Marvin Williams and Andy Kirk but failed to convert them.
A dreadful linesman's decision though, kick-started Southend's own match with their first attack of the game. The award of the throw-in to the visitors seemed to catch the Glovers off their guard, and as Southend committed both Skiverton and Forbes to early tackles, the cross in from the right from Tommy Black, was met by an unmarked Lee Barnard, to leave pretty much the whole of the Glovers back four at fault for the build-up and the subsequent goal.
Just 14 minutes later, matters got even worse, and like the first goal, it began with a poor decision from the officials. Marcus Stewart was lying on the deck on the side of the box, having already competed for a challenge, but when former Glover James Walker tried to move for the loose ball, he fell over the prone Stewart, and referee Roger East somehow saw that as a foul.
Not that there was any excuse from what happened out of the set play. Charlie Mulgrew's free kick was as simple as you can get, yet Peter Clarke was gifted a training ground header from deep in the six yard box, and barely a Yeovil outfield player five yards away. Slack marking wouldn't describe this one.
Not unlike the Huddersfield Town home match two weeks ago, what had begun so brightly began to spiral downwards at a rapid rate. Barnard and Walker between them could have carved out a third when Scott Flinders palmed out a Walker attempt, but the rebound came off Barnard's shin with the goal gaping, and no matter how hard he tried to pretend that it was deflected for a corner, he had stuck it wide for a goal kick.
The second half opened with neither side particularly imposing themselves, but it was game over just beyond the hour mark, when Simon Francis stuck in a cross from the right, and again Mark Gower appeared to have a suspiciously large amount of room to plant a near post header past Flinders to seal the match. Only Southend's 4th on target shot all game, but it had seen them grab three simple goals in the process.
With the Shrimpers now content to wind the game down, Andy Kirk missed out on two great opportunities to claw back at least some kind of pride for the Glovers, as he saw one attempt blocked over the crossbar for a corner by a Shrimpers defender, whilst another chance was looped over the bar from close range.
The boos rang out at Huish Park at full time, as the Glovers slipped to 16th in the table. The biggest worry of the day though has to be that like the Huddersfield match two weeks ago, once the first goal was conceded, all of the early confidence seemed to evaporate into thin air, and the longer the game went on, the more predictable the outcome became. If there is one thing that manager Russell Slade works on before the vital away match at Gillingham, then it has to be his team's mental strength. At present the team look fragile and it looks as though a few are buckling under the pressure. Probably a couple of wins is all the Glovers need, but they need to come sooner rather than later.
Final Score: Yeovil Town 0 Southend United 3.
Scorers: Lee Barnard (20 mins, 0-1), Peter Clarke (34 mins, 0-2), Mark Gower (64 mins, 0-3)
Yeovil Town: 4-3-3
31. Scott Flinders
27. Lee Peltier 4. Terry Skiverton 6. Terrell Forbes 2. Mark Lynch
10. Marcus Stewart 12. Matty Rose 15. Liam Bridcutt
32. Marvin Williams 9. Lloyd Owusu 24. Andy Kirk
Subs: 8. Anthony Barry (57 mins for Matty Rose) 14. Paul Warne (69 mins for Marvin Williams) 16. Jaime Peters (83 mins for Andy Kirk) 17. Simon Church 19. Craig Alcock
Southend United: 4-4-2
1. Darryl Flahavan
2. Simon Francis 5. Peter Clarke 6. Adam Barrett 18. Charlie Mulgrew
17. Tommy Black 16. Alan McCormack 23. Nick Bailey 7. Mark Gower
19. Lee Barnard 28. James Walker
Subs: 4. Lewis Hunt 10. Charlie MacDonald (80 mins for Lee Barnard) 13. Steven Collis (GK) 22. Franck Moussa (85 mins for Alan McCormack) 25. Anthony Grant (80 mins for Tommy Black)
Yeovil Bookings: Marvin Williams (41 mins, foul)
Southend Bookings: None.
Referee: Roger East (Wiltshire). Assistants: James Cox (Worcestershire) and Eamonn Smith (Surrey). Fourth Official: Wayne Barratt (Worcestershire).
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