Ten man Rovers earn point at Southend

May 6, 2018

Rovers picked a point to see out the season at Roots Hall, as Rovers were reduced to ten men following Ollie Clarke’s first-half dismisal.

For the final fixture of the season, Rovers boss Darrell Clarke elected to make three changes to his starting eleven for the encounter at Roots Hall.

Into the side came Tom Broadbent, Bernard Mensah and Ollie Clarke, at the expense of Lee Brown, Tom Nichols and Byron Moore.

On the bench, the Manager included several development players, with Alfie Kilgour, Michael Kelly, Mo Baghdadi and Cameron Hargreaves all making up the seven sub substitutes.

In the early stages of the contest, there was a scare for Rovers, as Michael Kightly broke into the Rovers area and had to be halted with a resounding sliding challenge from Tom Broadbent, just as the forward was shaping to shoot.

There were early chances for Rovers too, as Bernard Mensah latched onto a ball down the right a cut back his run to drill a dangerous ball across the face of goal that was headed behind for a corner. Chris Lines was tasked with taking the setpiece, and picked out the unmarked Liam Sercombe, who drilled his left-footed attempt well-wide of the target.

In the basking sunshine on the coast, it was Southend who registered the first chance on target. A low ball into the Rovers area picked out Theo Robinson, but his first-time attempt lacked both power and direction, which allowed Sam Slocombe to make a routine save.

Rovers built themselves into the game, as Ellis Harrison held onto possession down the right and slide in a neat pass into the path of Liam Sercombe. The midfielder darted to boasted his way to the ball inside the Southend area and directed a driven attempt that flashed wide of goal.

Sercombe’s chance was quickly followed by a volley from outside the area from Bernard Mensah that caused Oxley issues in the Southend goal. With Mensah’s attempt reaching his an awkward height, the Southend ‘keeper had to adjust his body to make a save low down to his right.

As the first-half progressed, Southend thought that they had forced the first goal of the contest, as Jason Demetrious edged his way to a delivery to the far-post, but with the goal at his mercy, the defender guided his effort across of the face of goal and behind for a goal-kick.

The hosts again threaten moments later, as Simon Cox leapt to volley home a cross from the right, forcing his effort into the ground but was denied by the crossbar, as Rovers hurried clear the rebound.

As half-time approached, Rovers were reduced to ten men, as Ollie Clarke was shown a second yellow card for a foul on Sam Manton.

Following the interval, Sam Slocombe was called into immediate action, as Tom Broadbent conceded a foul twenty-yards out from goal. Knightly was tasked with the set-piece and bent a curling shot around the wall, which forced Slocombe into making a diving save to his right to push the attempt wide.

The Rovers ‘keeper was busy again a short while after, as Theo Robinson chased down a deflected clearance from Tom Broadbent and hit a first-time volley that reached Slocombe at a comfortable height to save.

Chances were few and far between in the second half, with Rovers doing a good job at keeping the mobile strikeforce of Southend at bay. There was a heart in mouth moment as Bwomono angled a ball to Theo Robinson at the far-post, but the striker couldn’t find the target from close-range.

Rovers did muster a chance through Ellis Harrison, as the striker edged away from his marker and struck a low-volley towards the target that was well held by Oxley.

That signalled a good spell for Rovers; a corner from Chris Lines was recycled back into the area by Liam Sercombe, as Tony Craig glanced a header onto the woodwork. In the aftermath of the chance, Tom Broadbent was shown a booking for an altercation inside the six-yard box.

Inside the final ten minutes, a flighted ball into the box from Chris Lines was headed over the target by Tom Lockyer, as ten-man Rovers registered a point to end the season.

Rovers XI: Sam Slocombe (GK), James Clarke, Tom Lockyer (c), Tom Broadbent, Tony Craig, Bernard Mensah (69′ Mo Baghdadi), Chris Lines, Ollie Clarke, Liam Sercombe (82′ Tom Nichols), Kyle Bennett (56′ Luke Russe), Ellis Harrison.

Subs: Adam Smith (GK), Alfie Kilgour, Michael Kelly, Cameron Hargreaves.

Southend XI: Mark Oxley (GK), Jason Demetriou, John White (c), Harry Kyprianou, Elvis Bwomono (79′ Shayon Harrison), Stephen McLaughlin, Dru Yearwood (38′ Ben Coker), Sam Mantom (45′ Marc-Antoine Fortune), Michael Kightly, Theo Robinson, Simon Cox.

Subs: Nathan Bishop (GK), Anton Ferdinand, Jermaine McGlashan, Freddie Ladapo.

Attendance: 8,179 (Away 821)

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