MATCH REPORT | Southend United 0-1 Wealdstone
Updated: Apr 16
Wealdstone secured a famous win on the road against Southend United, digging deep to edge the Shrimpers at Roots Hall.
Rhys Browne second half strike ensured that the Stones grabbed all three points to put themselves mathematically on the brink of survival.
Stuart Maynard made two changes to the side that were defeated by Chesterfield last Saturday, with Jack Cook and Medy Elito returning to the starting line-up for Wealdstone.
The hosts were quick out of the traps, creating a chance within two minutes of kick off as George Wickens smothered the ball at Jack Bridge’s feet, before it eventually rolled to Callum Powell, but the forward struck his effort over the crossbar.
Kevin Maher’s side continued to play on the front foot and looked like they were going to open the scoring when referee Tom Bishop awarded the Shrimpers a penalty after he adjudged Connor McAvoy to have fouled Noor Husin in the box.
However, Wealdstone’s number one Wickens produced a brilliant save from Jason Demetriou’s resultant penalty, with Ashley Charles clearing the rebound before Harry Cardwell could poke the ball home.
Four minutes later, Demetriou was presented with a second bite of the cherry after the ball was squared to him at the far post, but Southend’s captain crucially missed an open goal, volleying wide.
After weathering the early pressure from the Shrimpers, the Stones generated their first opportunity of the half in the 27th minute when Josh Umerah met David Sesay’s cross, but the top scorer could only head his effort wide.
Two minutes later, Sesay and Umerah combined again, with the latter unable to keep his header down.
The Stones continued to probe for an opener and were agonisingly close in the 36th minute when Aaron Henry’s whipped free kick was headed back across goal by Jack Cook to Umerah, whose effort was thwarted excellently by Steve Arnold. Skipper Jerome Okimo followed up, but Shaun Hobson produced a vital goal line clearance to preserve the score line.
One minute into stoppage time, Southend found the back of the net; however referee Bishop ruled the goal out due to a handball from Bridge.
The Shrimpers returned from the interval brightly as Noor Husin picked out Cardwell at the back post; the attacker’s effort beat Wickens, but the tireless Charles was on hand to make a fantastic goal line clearance.
A moment later, Hobson nearly broke the deadlock with a free header from Harrison Neal’s cross, but the defender nodded his effort wide.
Southend continued to dial up the pressure and search for an opener. Neal found space on the edge of the box in the 54th minute, but he blazed his strike over the crossbar.
Five minutes later, the hosts looked like they had seized the initiative when Tom Clifford swung a free kick into the box which diverted off of McAvoy onto the post, before being claimed by Wickens.
Maynard introduced Browne in the 56th minute and 12 minutes later, the super-sub broke the deadlock for the Stones in sublime fashion. The forward held off a midfielder and curled the ball superbly into the bottom corner past Arnold from 25 yards out.
The Shrimpers rallied for an equaliser, but Wealdstone defended heroically with Okimo and Cook producing resolute performances at the heart of the defence to nullify the onslaught from the hosts.
Deep into additional time, Southend substitute Matthew Dennis nearly levelled at the death as his deflected effort looked to be on target, but Wickens reacted with a top-quality save to tip the ball wide.
The Stones return to action on Bank Holiday Monday as entertain Boreham Wood at Grosvenor Vale, in a 3pm kick-off.
WEALDSTONE: Wickens, McAvoy, Cook, Okimo (c), Sesay (Browne 56), Charles, Henry (Mundle-Smith 46), Ferguson, Clayden, Elito (Mascoll 82), Umerah.
Subs not used: Jackson, Dyer.
Attendance: 5,849 (including 378 Wealdstone supporters)
Report by Nicole Cho-Yee