MATCH REPORT: Southend 1 Fleetwood 0

Roots Hall was once his old stomping ground but it was an unhappy return for Cian Bolger as his error saw Fleetwood Town's seven game unbeaten run end at Southend.

Sunday, 23rd September 2018, 7:59 pm
Updated Monday, 24th September 2018, 10:05 am
James Wallace is sent off. Photo credit: Prime Media

Bolger was caught in possession by Theo Robinson, Simon Cox rattling home his centre.

That saw Town's seven match unbeaten run end but it was another questionable refereeing performance.

Town were unusually shaky at the back and toothless up top.

Fleetwood Town boss Joey Barton made three changes from the Accrington game.Chris Long, James Husband and Conor McAleny came out of the side due to injury with skipper Craig Morgan also still sidelined.Gethin Jones comes in at right back, with Lewie Coyle moving over to left back. Kyle Dempsey will starts on the left wing and Ched Evans has recovered from the niggle that saw him miss the draw with Accrington.

Town's brightest spark in the first half was in the first minute, Southend taking control after an early counter.Dempsey started a slick move in his own half, pumped the ball up to Madden who sent Hunter through on the right wing.He whipped the ball in towards Evans and Madden but Southend's Michael Turner just got a toe on the ball to divert it back to their keeper.

Southend's previous 12 goals at home had all been scored at the opposite end to the one they were attacking in the first 45.

And it would stay that way despite some wayward and rusty defending from Fleetwood giving Powell's men a load of chances.

Mantom stormed into the box after a rare mistake from Eastham, Hopper eventually wasting his chance as Town survived some pinball in the box.

Timothee Dieng blasted the ball wide of the right stick Theo Robinson and Ben Coker both tested Cairns.

Hopper went down in the box claiming for a penalty but the referee waved away his claim with Dieng stinging the palms of Cairns as the Shrimpers peppered Town.

Fleetwood woke up in the 43rd minute but Evans, back in the side after a niggle, was rusty.

The centre forward found himself in space after pouncing on a Turner error, but instead of slipping the ball to his right and sending Madden through he went for goal, blasting the ball over.

Barton withdrew Marney at the break and sent on James Wallace.

And Town were thwarted by the woodwork in the opening stages of the new half.

Madden had latched on to a fine Hunter cross but his header kissed the post before sneaking out of play.

But a defensive error was to be Town's downfall.

Bolger was caught in possession trying to play the ball out from the edge of his area.

Robinson pounced, roared into the box and pulled the ball back for Simon Cox to divert home in the 53rd minute.

Ross Wallace provided a bright spark at the end of the second half, the winger fizzing the ball in towards Coyle who tumbled in the box and screamed for a penalty.

The referee Charles Breakspear waved away that claim then the Town bench were even more incensed after Evans went down after an aerial challenge with Turner - the Town forward claiming an elbow was used.

Hunter picked up his fifth booking of the season and will now miss next weekend's game with Barnsley.

But despite Wallace's introduction Town could not find a way through as they lacked invention in the final third.

It was the other Wallace, James, who was to have the final word, the midfielder sent off in injury time after picking up a second yellow for a foul on Shawn McCoulsky.

Fleetwood Town: Cairns, Coyle, Eastham, Bolger, G Jones (Grant, 82), Dempsey (R Wallace, 59), Holt, Marney (J Wallace, 46), Hunter, Evans, Madden. Subs: Crellin, Biggins, Sheron, Rydel.

Southend: Stockdale, Coker, Turner, Dieng, Hopper (McCoulsky, 90), Cox, Mantom, Demetriou, Robinson (Klass, 78), Moore, White. Subs: Bishop, Bwomono, McLaughlin, Klass, Kyprianou, Hutchinson.