Emile Acquah took all the plaudits with his late goal as he handed Southend United their first win in any competition since a 3-1 success against Bristol Rovers at Roots Hall in March 2020!
The 64th minute substitute turned home a low left-footed shot to score the only goal of the game just two minutes from time, bringing an end to a run of 16 games without a victory for the bottom of the table Blues.
Minutes earlier the Saddlers’ were handed a massive opportunity to take the lead from the penalty spot. Tom Clifford was considered to have taken his man and not the ball. To his and his teammates joy, Elijah Adebayo spurned the chance to pour more misery on the Shrimpers hitting the crossbar from 12 yards.
Southend were largely good value for their win having most of the possession in the first half, despite not doing much with it. The best of chances falling to Brandon Goodship who fluffed his lines in the opening minutes.
Tim Dieng also tested Liam Roberts with a trio of good efforts, but that was as close as the Shrimpers would come in the first half.
The Saddlers’ stepped it up in the second half, coming extremely close when Dan Scarr saw a close range header superbly saved by Oxley before being scrambled clear.
In a game light on clear-cut chances, the all important move was sparked from a smart break by Ashley Nathaniel-George who made ground deep into the opposition half before finding Acquah just inside the box. After a moment of hesitation the striker turned hitting a deflected shot into the far corner.
Walsall ended the match with 10 men, Alfie Bates picking up a second yellow card with seconds remaining to compound a miserable day for Darrell Clarke’s side.
No one will be enjoying this evening as much as manager Mark Molesley – a man who has been much under fire, but personally, I’m delighted for him. He’s been working in impossible circumstances, and finally, he has got the reward for his hard work behind the scenes.
The moment of joy as the ball nestled in the corner is a feeling that’s been very uncommon in recent times for the loyal Southend supporters.
The first clean sheet since January, three points returning to Essex. It doesn’t get much better. Here’s hoping it’s the beginning of better times!
Enjoy your week Shrimpers
Credit to Southend United for the images