Another week, another loss for Southend. Nathan Delfouneso and an Eoin Doyle double compounding yet more misery on the Shrimpers as they sit at the very bottom of the Football League.
After a slow and scrappy start to proceedings, Bolton started to take control of the match dominating possession, albeit struggling to break down a well-organised defensive Southend shape.
With 30 minutes on the clock, Southend started growing into the game and begun to look the most likely. Pint-sized Terrell Egbri testing Gilks from range and earning his side a corner. The resulting corner saw a Beckham > Scholes-esque set-piece as Alan McCormack was found in space on the edge of the box, his volley fell just wide of the far post.
Just 5 minutes later the chance of the game so far fell to Southend striker Brandon Goodship. Having scored 77 goals for Weymouth in 2 seasons there was a lot expected from the young man when he joined the Seasiders 18 months ago, but true to his form in a Southend shirt he squandered a golden opportunity.
A forward ball caused chaos and dropped to Goodship around eight yards out with no nearby challenge, he took a touch but could only find the chest of Bolton stopper Matt Gilks.
A few more attacks amassing zero clear cut-chances for either side, it looked as though it would be a mistake or a piece of brilliance that would break the deficit and so that proved.
On the stroke of half-time, a poor clearance from Arsenal loanee James Olayinka fell to the feet of Bolton veteran Alex Baptiste who flighted a fantastic ball straight onto Delfouneso’s head, who fantastically powered a header into the bottom corner.
Slightly against the run of play and a sucker punch for Mark Molesley’s men. Bolton would head into the changing rooms one to the good.
It didn’t take long for Gilks to summon applause once again. Four minutes into the second half, Egbri saw his cross carry to the back post where Jason Demetriou was stood waiting. He unfurled a right-footed bending effort heading towards the far post, but yet again, pushed behind by Gilks for another Blues corner.
For the first time in a while, Bolton got hold of the ball deep in the final third and a jinking run into the box from Eoin Doyle was abruptly brought to an end by John White. Adjudged by the referee of bringing him down illegally, a penalty was awarded. Doyle stepped up himself and dispatched the spot-kick confidently. 2-0 to the Trotters. Just over an hour gone!
15 minutes later and the icing was on the cake for Bolton. That man Eoin Doyle again, and that man Alex Baptiste again. The veteran defender exploiting space on the right-hand side whipped in a cross leaving it on a plate for Doyle to grab his second from five yards out.
Southend went gung-ho looking for a consolation goal and Bolton had Matt Gilks to thank for their clean sheet following another brilliant save as the clock run down. Substitute Richard Taylor and Bolton rock Almeida Santos grappling to win a header at the front post saw a flick destined for the goal, until the Scottish keeper flung himself across the goal pushing the ball around the post, preventing what probably would have gone down as an own goal!
Full-time and Bolton go home with 3 goals, 3 points and a clean sheet. It’s a result that flattered the home side as it wasn’t as convincing as the scoreline suggests. The key difference between the teams being the clinicality.
The lack of firepower up top couldn’t have been more evident this afternoon as Delfouneso and Doyle showed how to take chances, something that has been lacking on almost every occasion this season for Southend.
Their chances of staying up will be drastically affected if they can lift the transfer embargo and register the likes of Simeon Akinola and the rumoured striker they are hoping to have join next week.
With no disrespect meant to the current leading line at Roots Hall – the strike force of Hopper, Cox, Humphrys and Kelman just last season is several leagues above the youthful outfit of Goodship, Acquah, Sterling and Rush and the lack of goals is telling in the Shrimpers league position