Southend United

It’s three in a row for Yeovil Town and the Darren Sarll’s men put on a good show at home for the second time this week.

Here are Ian’s conclusions from a sun-drenched Huish Park.

This team appears to be out of its sticky spell. They proved that the performance against

Picture courtesy of Mike Kunz.

Bromley wasn’t a one off. This was another confident and energetic from a team that have clearly turned a corner. The passes were slick, the one touch football was joyful, the defending was resolute. In the space of a couple of weeks we’ve gone from hopeless to maybe a tiny bit hopeful. Oh come on, you’re all thinking it. 

The early goals killed Southend off. We fell victim to it against Dagenham, and against Southend it was our turn. Goals from Reuben Reid after four minutes (fitting on the day we celebrated the life of Lee Collins) and then Tom Knowles four minutes later put the game to bed. It felt like we challenged Southend to break us down and they just couldn’t do it.

Ben Barclay. Picture courtesy of Mike Kunz.

Ben Barclay was imperious. From his crunching tackle on Matty Dennis to his chance to grab our third, it was a complete performance from the Stockport loanee. He’s developed a good relationship with all his defensive partners (and the ever-reliable Morgan Williams) and he had another stellar performance. Good with ball, timing on his tackle and was unlucky not to score. We’re lucky to have him for the rest of the season.

Lawson D’Ath. Picture courtesy of Mike Kunz.

Lawson D’Ath was the missing piece of the puzzle. We knew Lawson was good. We knew he was a cut above any other midfielder in the league, let alone the club. But I’ll admit that I’m surprised at how much he has improved us. The way he has helped our midfield bridge the gap between our defence and attack is abundantly clear. We look happier on the ball and our attacking players are freer knowing D’Ath will find them.

It was nice to feel some positivity around Huish Park. Yes, things haven’t been brilliant on the pitch up until last Saturday. Yes, things off the pitch are still uncertain. But on a glorious sunny afternoon, with a Disney-infused playlist chosen by the daughters of Lee Collins, there was positivity in the air. And a very timely reminder that there is more to life than football.

Goalkeeping coaching Craig Wight chats to Charley-Mae Collins, one of Lee’s three daughter of Lee, who w

Tom Knowles said the team performance Yeovil Town put in to secure a 2-0 win over Southend United typified former captain Lee Collins.

The fixture comes just days before the first anniversary of the death of the centre half and Huish Park marked his passing with his daughters, Amelia, Laila and Charley-Mae, mascots for the game.

Tom Knowles celebrates with Charlie Wakefield after scoring the second goal against Southend. Picture courtesy of Mike Kunz.

Speaking to BBC Somerset’s Sheridan Robins after the win, Knowles said: “He was a leader on and off the pitch. Seeing his little girls and his family here sends a shiver down your spine, so to put in a team performance for him that is so important.

“What this club has gone through, it has connected us so much and we all still feel his presence here and the gaffer constantly reminds us what Lee was on and off the pitch.

“He wants that in our team so I am really happy we have done that for him today.”

Knowles scored his seventh of the season with an eighth minute strike to put the Glovers 2-0 ahead after an opener from Reuben Reid, and said both he and his team-mates are playing with confidence.

He said: “I feel a lot more confident in myself and hopefully I am showing that on the pitch, and we are feeling that as a team, playing with a lot more freedom and confidence.

The past couple of months we know we have not been at the races and we’ve been disappointed not to get the results, so it is always pleasing when we have played well to get three points and that’s what we are here to do.”

The win saw Yeovil leap-frog Southend in to the top half of the National League table, 11 points off the play-off places, with nine games remaining.

Knowles did not quite go as far as saying they could still make a push for the top seven, but he certainly still has a motivation to pick up wins.

He added: “There’s still 27 points to play for and the more we can pick up, we will always look up and see where we can get too.

“You have to beat teams around you and in the next few weeks we’ll be looking to gain an advantage over other teams.

“We have to go in to every game with confidence because on any given day we can beat any team in this league. We’ve had great performances against teams above us, and we have to go in every game looking for three points.”

 

 

Venue: Huish Park
Saturday, March 26, 3pm kick-off

Conditions: A clear, sunny day
Pitch: Carpet-esque

Attendance: 2,465 (411 away supporters)

Scorers: Reuben Reid 4 (1-0), Tom Knowles 8 (2-0)

Bookings: 

Yeovil: None
Southend: Clifford 74, Gubbins 78,

Referee: Gary Parsons



Yeovil Town
: (4-4-2)

Ted Cann

Mark Little, Luke Wilkinson, Ben Barclay, Morgan Williams

Matt Worthington Dale Gorman  Lawson D’Ath (for Alex Bradley, 90), Tom Knowles

Charlie Wakefield (for Josh Neufville, 61)  Reuben Reid (for Olufela Olomola, 85)

Substitutes:  Josh Staunton, Jordan Barnett.

Southend United: Arnold, Hobson, Bridge (for Cardwell, 58), Dalby, Clifford, Atkinson, Neal, Clark, Davies, Dennis (for Powell, 70), Kensdale (for Gubbins, 46). Substitutes:  Gard, Gubbins, Demetriou, Cardwell.


Match Report

Yeovil Town picked up their third win in a row thanks to a quickfire start against Southend United on a glorious afternoon at Huish Park.

Reuben Reid‘s second goal of the season after just four minutes was swiftly followed by Tom Knowles‘ second in as many matches to see off a Southend side.

Having been given the runaround by the Glovers in the first half, the visitors changed their shape after the break and the second half was a much closer affair.

The win saw Yeovil leap-frog their opponents to take up 12th place in the National League table, 11 points off the play-off places and 24 points off King’s Lynn Town, who take up the division’s final relegation spot.

Here’s how it went down in sunny Somerset…..

First half

Both sides made just one change from their midweek matches with Luke Wilkinson coming in for Josh Staunton, who has been playing with a hernia injury in recent weeks, in the centre of the Yeovil defence.

For the visitors, loan signing Kenny Clark was thrown straight in to the Southend line-up in place of the suspended James Dunne as they reverted to a back three.

Having had success with a fast start in the 2-1 home win over Bromley, Yeovil did exactly the same thing and found the lead after just four minutes.

Reuben Reid opens the scoring in the 2-0 win over Southend. Picture courtesy of Mike Kunz.

A ball in to the box from Lawson D’Ath picked out Reuben REID who turned superbly in the box and got his shot away which squeezed under visiting keeper Steve Arnold to open the scoring.

After just nine minutes, a quick throw from D’Ath caught the visitors napping and fed Charlie Wakefield whose ball found Tom KNOWLES at the back post to slot home the second. What. A. Start.

The non-stop Wakefield (where does he get his energy from?!) were exploiting the back three being employed by their visitors and it was no surprise to see them revert to a back four soon after.

A week ago, we had not scored twice in a National League match since the end of February and we’d won just once in the league in 2022 – but that monkey is definitely off our back!

After such a fast start on a very hot day in Somerset, Yeovil unsurprisingly slowed down soon after with the visitors seeing a lot more of the ball albeit they didn’t do a lot to test Ted Cann in the hosts’ goal.

At the other end, Knowles fed Wakefield on 24 minutes and the winger-turned-striker lifted his shot over and shortly after midfielder Jack Bridge broke in to the box but his effort was not enough to test Cann.

That was the start of a bit of the visitors coming back in to the game with on loan Norwich City striker Matt Dennis put a header just over from Leon Davies‘ cross, and then Clark headed a great opportunity over the bar from a Harrison Neal free-kick.

But three minutes before the interval it should have been 3-0 to Yeovil. A superb through ball from Reid found Knowles who nipped in ahead of Clark his goal-bound effort was brilliantly headed off the line by Shaun Hobson.

Cann made a good stop to deny Dennis moments later, but the home side went in at the break two goals to the good.

Half time: Yeovil Town 2 Southend United 0

Second half

If you needed proof that the back three they started with was not working for Southend, manager Kevin Maher introduced Joe Gubbins, the young QPR defender signed on loan in midweek, in place of Ollie Kensdale at half-time.

But it was Yeovil who started the brighter and on 47 minutes a great delivery by Dale Gorman found Wilkinson who got it across to Reid who appeared certain to score but was denied by a great interception by Hobson.

The quick start continued as Gubbins’ clearance landed at the feet of Wakefield whose effort was volleyed over and soon after Knowles had another effort which was well saved by Arnold in the visitors’ goal.

Josh Neufville runs at the Southend defence. Picture courtesy of Mike Kunz.

On the hour mark, Josh Neufville came off the substitutes’ bench in place of Wakefield, but there was little more to talk about at either end until Southend substitute Harry Cardwell had a shot blocked by Ben Barclay on 70 minutes.

D’Ath put an effort just wide from a tight angle a minute later, but there was nothing much to shout about for either side until Barclay put one just wide on 83 minutes.

With five minutes remaining, Olufela Olomola came off the substitutes’ bench to replace Reid and the on loan striker almost had an immediate impact. He found himself clear on goal after a misplace pass by Clark, who did superbly to get back and deny the striker with a last ditch tackle.

Full time: Yeovil Town 2 Southend United 0

Luke Wilkinson.

Captain Luke Wilkinson returns to the Yeovil Town starting line-up in place of Josh Staunton in the only change for today’s National League match with Southend United at Huish Park (3pm kick-off).

Staunton, who has been playing with a hernia in recent matches – or, as manager Darren Sarll put it, “a hole in his stomach”, is on the substitutes’ bench with Reuben Reid remaining up front after impressing in the midweek win over Bromley.

The visitors also make one change with Kenny Clark, signed on Thursday from National League rivals Dagenham & Redbridge, coming straight in to a back three in place of James Dunne, who is suspended after being red carded in midweek.

QPR defender Joe Gubbins, who joined on loan in the week, is on the bench alongside striker Harry Cardwell, who has been missing for the past month through injury.

Yeovil Town: Ted Cann, Mark Little, Luke Wilkinson, Ben Barclay, Morgan Williams, Lawson D’Ath, Dale Gorman, Matt Worthington, Tom Knowles, Reuben Reid, Charlie Wakefield. Substitutes: Josh Staunton, Jordan Barnett, Alex Bradley, Josh Neufville, Olufela Olomola.

Southend United: Arnold, Hobson, Bridge, Dalby, Clifford, Atkinson, Neal, Clark, Davies, Dennis, Kensdale. Substitutes: Powell, Gard, Gubbins, Demetriou, Cardwell.

It was a 2-1 win over Yeovil Town in Essex back in January which kick-started an amazing run of form for Southend United.

Relegated out of the Football League last May, the Shrimpers had been expected to compete having brought in some experienced professionals in the summer.

Unfortunately, they were being managed by Phil Brown, a man with a far from impressive managerial record, and during the first half of the season they managed just four National League wins with 11 defeats.

The dismissal of Brown at the start of October saw former player Kevin Maher brought in as part of a management team which includes former Barnet manager Darren Currie and despite not making an immediate impact, they built up a head of steam by the time Yeovil came to town.

Since that night they have won seven, drawn four and lost three in the league and rocketed from the relegation zone to a comfortable 12th, one place ahead of Yeovil going in to the weekend.

Maher was busy on the final day of National League clubs being able to register players on Thursday.

He brought in centre half Joe Gubbins on loan from Championship QPR and Dagenham & Redbridge defender Kenny Clark, both of whom will spend the rest of the season on loan in Esssex.

The pair could be in line for a start at Huish Park with ex-Glover Nathan Ralph, who has been playing in the middle of defence, out for six weeks with a thigh injury and Polish defende Kacper Łopata having been recalled by Sheffield United.

Maher said: “With the players we’ve lost it meant we wanted to add a couple in that area. We want to keep pushing and finish the season strongly by winning as many games as we can so I’m pleased we’ve been able to sign two and I’m grateful to the club for allowing us to do that.

If there’s a positive to be had from Southend’s form it is that they have lost twice in their last three with a 3-0 home defeat to Dagenham and a 2-1 loss at Maidenehead on Tuesday night sandwiching a 2-0 win over Altrincham.


FROM THE GOALKEEPER

Southend goalkeeper Steve Arnold believes his team-mates should not be too downhearted by the midweek defeat at Maidenhead United.

Speaking to the Southend Echo, he said: “If you had offered us where we are now when the manager came in we would’ve done anything for that.

“We do need a sense of perspective but at the same time we don’t want to take our foot off the gas so to speak.

“We’ll take it one game at a time but we’ve got to keep positive.

Of the trip to Somerset this weekend, the former Forest Green Rovers shot-stopper said: “It’s a game we’re looking to go and win like we do every week. They’re another team in the way of what we want to do as well so we’ll go there looking for three points.”

 


TEAM NEWS

The transfer deadline day arrivals of QPR youngster Joe Gubbins and experienced Dagenham centre half Kenny Clark give Southend options at the back.

They recently lost Kacper Lopata who was recalled by Sheffield United and ex-Glovers’ defender Nathan Ralph through injury, the Shrimpers moved to bolster their back line.

Both will be in with a chance of starting at Huish Park, however, there will be no place for experienced midfielder James Dunne, sent off in the 2-1 defeat at Maidenehead United on Tuesday night.

Also missing will be former Yeovil striker Rhys Murphy and fellow frontman Simeon Akinola who both have knee injuries and midfielder Abu Ogogo who has a heart issue.

Striker Harry Cardwell returned to training this week having been missing for the past month with a hamstring problem, and could be in contention.


FOOT IN BOTH CAMPS

The obvious link between these two sides is Rhys Murphy, who topped the scoring charts in the green-and-white of Yeovil Town for the past two seasons and is doing the same at Southend United.

Sadly, as mentioned above, there’s no change of the bagsman coming back to haunt his old employers having suffered yet another major injury, ironically in the Glovers’ 2-1 defeat at Roots’ Hall earlier this year.

You do have to wonder what kind of a career he could have had if it weren’t for such a bad injury record.

Another familiar face out of the reckoning is defender Nathan Ralph, who was part of the Yeovil side which was promoted to the Championship in 2013.

He has been impressing as a left-sided central defender – he’s not that tall, but he can’t half jump – for the Shrimpers this season but, see Team News, he’s out for the next six weeks with a thigh injury.

Other players with a foot in both camps include:

  • Jordan Green – Yeovil Town (2017-19), Southend United (2020 – loan)
  • Brandon Goodship – Yeovil Town (2016 – loan, 2016), Southend United (2019-21)
  • Jakub Sokolik – Southend United (2014 – loan, 2016), Yeovil Town (2014-16)
  • Craig Calver – Southend United (2009-10), Yeovil Town (2010-11)
  • Scott Spencer – Yeovil Town (2008 – loan), Southend United (2010-11)
  • Wayne Gray – Southend United (2004-06), Yeovil Town (2006-07)
  • Matt Harrold – Southend United (2001-02, 2006-08), Yeovil Town (2005-06)
  • Barrington Belgrave – Yeovil Town (2000-01), Southend United (2001-2003)
  • Gareth Risbridger – Yeovil Town (1998-2001), Southend United (2001-02)
  • Ben Smith – Yeovil Town (1998-2001), Southend United (2001-02)
  • David Webb – Southend United – manager (1986-87, 1988-82, 2000-01, 2010), Yeovil Town (2000)

Highlights of the 2-1 defeat at Southend United are now available on the club’s website.

If you want to know where the Yeovil Town highlights are, skip to:

  • 02:15 – the ‘handball’ incident involving Max Hunt.
  • 02:36 – Reuben Reid‘s opening goal, just don’t look at Luke Wilkinson in the build up to the goal, you’ll only upset yourself.

We can’t really recommend much of the rest, I am afraid.

It was another defeat for Yeovil Town on Tuesday night as we went down to our fourth loss in a row at Southend United.

Here one-time Gloverscast quiz champion and Glovers’ supporter Ed Turnbull was among the 80 hardy souls in the North Stand at Roots Hall, and here are his five conclusions:

Unfortunately, the most obvious takeaway is the performance level was substantially lower (at least for the first hour) than what we were treated to during our stunning 12-match unbeaten run. The first half in particular, we had very little fluidity in attack and invited Southend onto us, struggling to get anything resembling a foothold in the game. To make matters worse, our defence seemed nowhere near as solid as the backline that stood firm to bombardments from the likes of Solihull, Bromley and Wrexham in previous away games this season – Southend could easily have scored more than two. Various wise heads including Darren Sarll and Ian Perkins have referred to the team looking tired of late, and this was further proof. Mind you, it must be said that Southend seemed a lot better than a team that has spent most of the season battling it out with W*ymuff for 20th place.

Joe Quigley battles for the ball.
Picture courtesy of Mike Kunz.

Things improved significantly with the introduction of Joe Quigley and Reuben Reid (if you ignore for a second the fact Southend made it 2-0 right after they came on!). Adi Yussuf very rarely, if ever, got the ball to stick to him, and nobody was surprised when the fourth official’s board went up with a red 23 next to a green 10. I think getting the ball under control back-to-goal isn’t one of Quigley’s strengths either, but he’s negated that possible weakness by instead looking to win flick-ons for team-mates to run onto (take his assist for Yussuf’s goal against Eastleigh as a perfect example). Last night I was very impressed how he seemed to win every header against big centre-halfs, and it gave us (often Reuben Reid to be precise) a platform to work off, that saw us become a lot more threatening and gave us a fighting chance of getting something from the game. Quigley was also unlucky not to score himself when he did brilliantly to make space for a shot, which was excellently saved. I’ll be picking Joe ahead of Adi in my next FanHub line-up predictions in the future, for sure (unless Quigley get’s injured, I suppose). 

Luke Wilkinson. Picture courtesy of Mike Kunz.

Ordinarily, you’d probably say that the phase of play which ended with us scoring our only goal was the best 15 seconds of the match from a Yeovil point of view. But on this occasion I would argue it was the worst, and that’s because Luke Wilkinson went down innocuously immediately before we scored. I didn’t see whose shot it was from the edge of the box (sounds as though it was Wakefield’s) that wasn’t gathered by Southend keeper Steve Arnold, and Reid nudging in the rebound was only in my peripheral vision, because I was more focused on our captain clutching his leg in obviously severe discomfort. If you look at our record in National League games this season, I make it now W7 D1 L2 when Wilkinson has played the whole match, compared to W2 D3 L6 when he hasn’t – I think that’s enough said about how big a miss he’ll be. If anything, I was relieved to hear Sarll’s prognosis of “a good six weeks“, because I feared it could have been even worse.

Rhys Murphy did not get a welcoming reception from the Yeovil fans, it’s fair to say. Perhaps it’s understandable after his absence at the end of last season which did leave a sour taste in the mouth. Murphy later stated this was “due to some personal issues“, and given we’ll probably never know what he meant by that, one could argue he should be given the benefit of the doubt. Personally, I’d rather remember Rhys for his incredible return of 34 goals in 65 games, and for memories such as Torquay away (the 2-0, not the 6-1, if that wasn’t clear). The bloke literally scored a hattrick against W*ymuff, after all! He certainly showed enough quality last night to remind us what we’re missing.

Lastly, and most importantly, I think it should go without saying we need to stick by these players. Yes, it’s four defeats in a row, but it’s also four defeats in our last 16. I fully agree with Darren Sarll when he says this young group needs to be positively supported rather than have fans on their backs if we want them to perform to the really high bar they’ve set in November and December as frequently as possible. These players seriously care about Yeovil Town FC, and that was shown again last night in the way we kept trying our socks off for an equaliser despite being visibly shattered and ending the game with 10 men after Wilkinson went off. On another day, the ref might not have penalised Max Hunt for a hand ball, Reid’s goal would have been an equaliser rather than a consolation, and the lads would have secured a heroic comeback for which we’d be singing their praises.

Grant Smith. Picture c/o Mike Kunz

Glovers’ goalkeeper Grant Smith spoke to BBC Somerset’s Sheridan Robins following Yeovil Town‘s 2-1 defeat at Southend United and said that the game just didn’t get going for the visitors.

“We struggled with their shape, we couldn’t really adapt to certain things they were going, we tried to change it a little bit, but we just couldn’t get going”

The former Chesterfield stopper was back in goal after a two match ban and said on a personal level it was good to be back, but that the team was focused on putting right a poor run of results.

“I think the main thing for us is trying to keep our heads, trying to keep it at 1-0, when we keep it a 1-0 we are always in the game, one chance, like today you never know what can happen, it can quickly change.

“When it goes 2-0 and 3-0, sometimes it’s over.

“Bringing Quigz (Joe Quigley) & Reubs (Reuben Reid) on we wanted the ascendency to go in our favour, but unfortunately we got caught on the break… that’s football

“We gave it a good push at the end, but it wasn’t enough

“Every game we play, we want to win and come Saturday (the FA Trophy match at home to Needham Market), it’s a big, big chance to put it right.”

The ‘keeper said he had only himself to blame for his enforced absence recently and that he’d learn from the experience of missing out on the big games and ended by saying he and the side were “never too high when we win and never too low when we lose”

I’m sure Gloverscast listeners will have spotted that phrase used once or twice.

Yeovil Town boss, Darren Sarll spoke to BBC Somerset’s Sheridan Robins following the Glovers’ 2-1 defeat at Southend United and said that his side looked ‘fatigued‘ both mentally and physically.

The manager said: “It lacked balance, when I think of the story of the game, when I think of the front four first half in the comparison to the opponent’s front three, that part of the pitch looked so unbalanced.

“We actually playing the system better, then we made the changes with the centre forwards as we had no real route to goal… then we whacked it at goal, for a good 20 minutes, everything was ‘whack, whack’ which shows some mental fatigue and shows some players out of form

“For the last eight minutes of normal time, plus the extra time, there was a bit of balance and we found the time when to pass and when to play into the front, and then I thought we looked a threat.”

Yeovil had a goal ruled out through Max Hunt which Darren Sarll said “maybe” could have been given on another day, but despite the late rally, Southend held on.

The second Southend goal, scored by Tom Clifford has left the gaffer with his biggest headache.

He said: “The biggest disappointment is the second goal, it is like a car crash and that probably does show mental fatigue. 

“I don’t want to throw the chaps under the bus, because they’ve been outstanding as we know, but that’s a huge learner.”

Sarll said that the performance in the first 20 minutes was tough to decipher the formation, or the roles of the players and that comes down to him.

“That’s really disappointing as a football coach… I know what they’re trying to do, they’re trying to start a run, trying to get that winning feeling, but that kind of ‘razz’ and that confusion, the chaos in their mind. That leads to silly decisions.”

Ruben Reid comes on vs Bournemouth

Reuben Reid‘s late consolation goal wasn’t enough as the Glovers now go four games without a win and will head in to Saturday’s game against Needham Market searching for that winning formula.

Sarll confirmed that he would be reluctant to make too many changes as the Glovers seek progression in the FA Trophy.

“We have to feel winning again, this isn’t ‘participation football’, this isn’t grass roots football, and we have to try and taste winning again, we will give them the rest they need… and we might need to give them a bit longer, we do need to find that footing now.”

Captain Luke Wilkinson looks likely to spend six weeks on the sidelines after limping off towards the end of the 2-1 defeat at Southend United on Tuesday night, according to Yeovil Town manager Darren Sarll

Luke Wilkinson.

The boss also revealed the he expects full-back Dan Moss to depart when his loan spell from Millwall comes to an end at the end of the month, but Middlesbrough defender Jack Robinson has extended his stay until the end of the season.

Sarll also hopes that the loan of forward Sonny Blu Lo-Everton from Premier League Watford can also be extended until the end of the season.

On Wilkinson’s injury, the manager told BBC Somerset’s Sheridan Robins: “On those nights when you are searching you a goal, you always get that horrible injury and I would have thought that is a good six weeks.”

He added: “I have seen these too many times in my career, when you get that bit of hope and you search and you chase for it, and normally that is the straw that breaks the camel’s back with injury.

That is a massive one for us because (Wilkinson) is a massive player for us and it looks like he is going to spend a large part on the sidelines now.

Of the loanees, Sarll said: “Jack (Robinson) is done until the end of the season, so that is a really good one.

“I don’t think (Dan) Moss will be with us til the end of the season, I think he may be going to pastures new.

“Sonny, I don’t think will be a problem, and hopefully he will be with us until the end of the season. We have not really found his consistent space in this team, but there’s definitely one coming out and he will be a big player for us.”

Matt Worthington was missing with “an upset stomach” which the boss said they did not believe was COVID-19.

The departure of Moss would suggest that summer signing Mark Little is close to a return to first-team action.

The former Bristol City full-back has not been seen since picking up an injury in pre-season and speaking on New Year’s Eve, Sarll described him asvery close” to a return.