Martin Shaw at Roots Hall
This was a re-arranged game which served as a benefit for referee Mike North from Dorset, who so tragically died during the abandoned game on Easter Monday. Mrs North was in attendance, and in an extremely moving moment, showed remarkable courage when she walked onto the pitch and to the edge of the centre circle, as the minute’s silence was about to begin. Premiership referee Paul Durkin, a close friend of Mike North and also from Dorset, was invited to officiate the game, and afterwards spoke of his honour at doing so and said “Mrs North handled a difficult situation magnificently and showed tremendous courage on what was a very sad night." The two assistant referees and the fourth official were the same as on Easter Monday. After the game Paul Durkin, speaking on BBC Radio Essex, said that the 2 sides had been a credit in the way they had played the game, and that there had not been a bad tackle all night. The attendance of 3,345 was unfortunately down about 1000 on Southend’s average gate this season, but with the net gate receipts going to Mike North’s family, should still have raised a significant sum. There were about 50 Stags fans in attendance. Stags were unchanged from the side that had beaten Scunthorpe on Saturday, except that Bobby Mimms returned in place of Kevin Pilkington in goal.
Southend had tried to sign a couple of big name stars, in an attempt to boost the attendance, but manager David Webb revealed in the local paper, the Evening Echo, that he had been foiled. He had tried to recruit former Chelsea striker Gianluca Vialli and record Arsenal goalscorer Ian Wright. Webb said "We were given permission to sign guest players for what is obviously a special game, but we weren't successful," said Webb. "I only had until last Friday to get people registered and despite putting a lot of feelers out it wasn't enough time. Vialli said he would have loved to have played for us, but he was already committed to a testimonial game in Italy. And I never heard from Wright, but it's not anybody's fault - it was just too short notice.”
began the game under pressure and should have fallen behind as Southend
midfielder Rawle missed a couple of sitters in the opening 10 minutes,
with Stags defence gone missing. Stags gradually found their way into the
game, with Disley like a terrier in midfield and Lawrence working hard to
track back into defence as well as providing a spark going forward.
Then on 28 minutes Stags
were in front with a terrific goal. Williamson sent over a chipped corner
and Lawrence, completely unmarked 2 yards outside the box, fired the ball
in on the volley. It went through a ruck of players and somehow through
the goalkeeper’s legs. It may have looked comical on the goalkeeper, but
this shouldn’t disguise the wonderful skill from Lawrence and
Half time 0-1
half started very quietly with few chances at either end, but more poor
defending allowed the home side to equalise on 61 minutes. A right-wing
cross from the long-haired Hutchings was met by Thurgood for an easy
header into the corner of the net giving Mimms no chance. It appeared that
it was Asher who had lost his man in allowing the header. Stags brought on
Boulding for Bradley and Boulding twice went close to scoring, once with a
great header from a terrific Greenacre cross, and once with a shot. Then,
as Stags went for a winner, striker White was brought on for defender
Jervis on 74 minutes, but almost immediately Southend took the lead.
Wardley’s mis-hit shot bobbled through to Tes Bramble (brother of
Ipswich’s Titus Bramble). Stags players claimed offside, but
unfortunately Reddington was playing him onside. Bramble turned and from
close range smacked a shot into the roof of the net.
Man of the match : Liam Lawrence
Mimms 6, Asher 6, Reddington 6, Blake 6, Jervis 6,
Hassell 6, Disley 7, Williamson 6, Lawrence 7, Bradley 6, Greenacre
Subs: Williams (for Williamson, 46 mins) 6,
Boulding (for Bradley 66 mins) 7, White (for Jervis 74 mins) 6.
Subs not used: Pilkington, Andrews.