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Southend United 1 Rovers 7

22 October 2019

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Kwame Thomas and Ben Sheaf scored their first goals for the club as Rovers ran riot at Roots Hall - hitting seven past a demoralised Southend United

Rovers claimed all three points with a commanding performance in a match which saw eight goals and two red cards - both shown to Southend players following late tackles on Taylor.

A stunning free-kick from Isaac Hutchinson put the Shrimpers - who were already down to 10 men at this point - ahead - but Thomas and Sheaf struck to ensure Rovers were ahead at the break.

Thomas hit a second to extend that advantage quickly after the restart, before Ben Whiteman, Kieran Sadlier, Aflie May and Jon Taylor put the Shrimpers to the sword.

Rovers made one change, bringing Kwame Thomas in for Niall Ennis. Donervon Daniels was booked in the opening minute for a late challenge, but a card which really changed Southend’s gameplan came four minutes later when Ethan Hamilton was sent off following a late and challenge on Taylor.

The home side had started well - looking to impress new manager Sol Campbell who was watching from the directors’ box having been appointed in the hour prior to kick-off.

The red card dampened their enthusiasm but, with 11 minutes on the clock, they took the lead against the run of play when Hutchinson smashed the ball into the top-left corner with a stunning free-kick which left Seny Dieng with no chance.

The home side were beginning to dream of their second win of the season, but it was always going to be a real challenge for them to hold on to their lead.

Ben Whiteman saw an effort deflected safely into the hands of Nathan Bishop, as Rovers patiently probed to make their numerical advantage count.

They drew level after 23 minutes when Kwame Thomas headed home his first goal for the club, getting on the end of a cross from Kieran Sadlier.

And Rovers edged themselves ahead three minutes later when Sheaf fired home a volley after getting on the end of a deep cross from James Coppinger. His effort took a deflection off Nathan Ralph, but it drained brief out of the home side.

Rovers pushed to extend the lead and claim a two-goal cushion which would make their evening a lot easier.

Sadlier tried an effort from distance which had Bishop scrambling, while Sheaf and Brad Halliday also tried their luck from far out.

Rovers made one change at the break, bringing on Joe Wright for Daniels in what was presumably a precautionary move given Daniels’ early booking.

Rovers did get an early goal after the restart which all but sealed the tie when Sheaf and Thomas combined again as the on-loan midfielder flicked on a corner to Thomas who was unmarked at the far post and stabbed home.

The evening took a stranger turn after 53 minutes when the Shrimpers were reduced to nine men - and again referee Josh Smith showed a straight red, this time to Stephen McLaughlin, after a late challenge on Taylor.

Rovers pushed for more goals in the final half hour, and with the home side having lost their belief and sitting back there were not a lot of gaps to exploit.

Whiteman found Taylor with a typical defence-splitting pass, but the former Rotherham man’s shot at the near post, while Reece James also pulled an effort wide.

Captain Whiteman pulled an effort from outside the area after 69 minutes, but a minute later he made no mistake when Alfie May - who had come on to replace Coppinger - laid the ball into his path and he smashed it past Bishop.

Madger Gomes was also introduced for the closing stages, replacing Thomas.

The fifth Rovers goal came when Halliday’s cutback found Taylor, his shot came back off the inside of the far post and Saddler was on hand to turn the ball home.

Gomes set up May for Rovers’ sixth with a stunning pass for May, who cooly lifted the ball over Bishop.

And there was still time for a seventh in time added on, with Taylor’s shot from the right going in after a deflection from Nathan Ralph.


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