It was another game of two halves on another mosquito-plagued evening at Broad Lane, as Wivenhoe conceded two second half goals and failed to threaten the Manor goal after a reasonable first half in which they had taken the lead.
Southend had the better of the opening exchanges as they fashioned two shots on goal in the opening six minutes. Although the game was only nine minutes old it was against the run of play therefore when Wivenhoe took the lead. Byran Turner spread a lofted pass out wide to Mike Schofield on the right, Mike cut inside and hit a shot which beat the ’keeper and came back off the foot of the post; Luke Rogers
was alert to the follow up and bundled the ball into the net over the flailing goal keeper.
The goal brought the Dragons more into the game and they started to get forward and enjoy a larger share of the possession. On fourteen minutes Luke Rogers
won a tackle on the left and cut in towards goal before laying off a square pass to Markel Greenidge
who hit a fine low shot against the far post, Luke was again running in for the rebound but couldn’t control his shot and he, or someone, was adjudged to be offside in any case.
Southend were neat and tidy and well organised, but it was Wivenhoe who created most decent opportunities in the first half. After twenty-two minutes Ben Lampon
collected a throw-in and drilled in a low cross from the by-line that the keeper saved well at this near post. Wivenhoe won the game’s first corner after half an hour and though this was headed away, the ball was worked back in and Bryan Turner sent in a deep cross to Ben Lampon
at the far post, but his swing at the ball connected as much with a defender as it did the ball and a free-kick was awarded to Manor. Five minutes later a Marley Spindler cross was headed towards goal by Markel Greenidge
who also hit a decent shot from 20 yards about twenty seconds later; unfortunately both efforts went directly in to the arms of the ‘keeper.
With six minutes to go to half-time Luke Rogers
laid on a delicately weighted pass into the path of Mike Schofield; the ‘keeper sprinted to the edge of the box however and saved well at Mike’s feet. Seconds later Luke Rogers
ran onto a ball over the top, but again the ‘keeper saved well as Luke attempted to lob the ball over him. Southend came back at the Dragons in the final five minutes as first a cross from the right was met with a flying header that went wide and then a free-kick was headed past the far post and finally Ben Lampon
was forced to concede a corner with a good block. The resultant kick was flicked across goal at the near post but no one could apply the touch that would surely have provided an equaliser.
Southend’s resurgence at the end of the first half gave an indication of what would follow in the second period. Wivenhoe started satisfactorily and won a corner on 48 minutes but this came to nothing. Five minutes later Southend’s number seven fired in a shot from 25 yards but it was an easy save for Adam Wilding
in the Dragons’ goal. Three minutes after that however, Southend were level as an incisive forward pass found their number nine at the near post; Adam Wilding
blocked his shot well but the ball spun away from him and was easily knocked back in to the net for the equaliser.
A number of changes were made over the next five minutes with Winston Juby, Jonathon Carr and Lewis Ayton replacing Marley Spindler, Luke Rogers
and Luke Payne and a little later Ben Parkin
came on for Marcus Spindler. The changes cannot really be blamed for Wivenhoe’s poor showing in the second half as generally the team seemed to have less energy than Southend who had improved on their first half performance. The Dragons rarely got forward and seldom put together more than a few passes before losing possession. The midfield seemed worst affected as they were unable to provide the link between defence and attack and often gave Southend too much space in the middle of the field.
The game was won in the seventy second minute when Southend’s number four made a good dribble in to the box before playing in number nine who shot against Adam Wilding
, but the ball spun up and over Adam and into the net.
The last fifteen minutes saw a welcome run out for Joe Hawkins
who replaced Bryan Turner and is building up his fitness as he returns from long-term injury. Southend looked likely to score as the game entered its final ten minutes and Wivenhoe struggled to clear a corner and they might have done better with a free diving header from the edge of the box after a cross from the left. Wivenhoe hadn’t looked like equalising but earned a corner in the 87th minute after Jonathon Carr played in Marcus Spindler who had come back in place of a tired looking Markel Greenidge
. Lewis Ayton took a decent corner kick but no one was challenging the ‘keeper who gathered the ball easily.
The closing stages saw a couple of bookings, one for Ben Lampon
and one for a Southend player, which is disappointing for a friendly match, but it was possibly symptomatic of tiredness at the end of a quite hectic pre-season schedule, plus an element of frustration at the struggling second half performance. Wivenhoe can have no complaints about the result against a well drilled side who had a very good campaign in the Essex Senior League last season.
Four first team regulars in Tom Moore
; Tom Cutts
, Ray Catchpole
and Ryan Brown
were missing for this game but this gave the opportunity for a run-out to young players such as Luke Payne and happily results don’t really matter in pre-season. Hopefully a full strength team will get a result when the season starts at Thetford on 4th August.