HALF-TIME: Port Vale 1 Southend United 3
A cracking start by the Shrimpers saw them two-up after only seven minutes but the Valiants came back into the game on 25 minutes, to let a long-range strike by Leonard give the away side a comfortable cushion again at the break. So, after the great virus scare it's not that bad a line-up, and in the Cherry Voltage strip as well, in front of around a hundred of the travelling faithful. Shame about JP Kalala, looking a good signing in front of the back four where another new boy in Ryan Leonard will now take his place. However, the shock news in that centre-back Mark Phillips is actually fit so veteran Graham Coughlan can have a rest, if standing next to Luggy is going to be peaceful! Good to see Luke Prosser at left-back, didn't think I'll ever write that, and, yes, your eyes do not deceive you Lee Sawyer is starting with Ryan Hall only deemed strong enough to sit on the bench. To the game then, and the Shrimpers strike early! No Hall to take a 4th minute corner, so it falls to Sawyer who shows his manager he can do something, by landing it on the head of the returning Mark Phillips, who gets his second of the season after Orient, which is close to the number of matches he's actually played. Frigging hell, it's two-nil! Only 3 minutes later and Liam Dickinson proves Luggy correct that his strikers were about to click, by smashing home a wonderful 16-yarder into the bottom right-hand corner! Valiant boss Micky Adams was right, he had to be watched closely, though he's gone down to receive treatment. The home side have to get in the game eventually and S24 player-to-watch Sean Rigg, please let's not have anothet choice score against us, goes close on nineteen minutes. However, only 60 seconds later Kane Ferdinand has a superb chance to bury the game but after a fine Dickinson cross heads straight at Vale keeper Stuart Tomlinson! And will it come back to haunt the Shrimpers, as on 25 minutes a Gary Roberts assist sees keeper Glen Morris possibily make an error of judgement by leaving his line and allowing the ball to fall to Doug Loft to find the net with a clean strike from the edge of the box. Doesn't seem it will, the two goal cushion is back almost immediatly! We know from pre-season that Ryan Leonard like to hit a ball hard from long distance, and just before the half-hour there he is again, and somehow the ball finds its way underneath Tomlinson, poor attempt! Sawyer follows up with another corner but cleared by striker Tom Pope back in his own area, not where the Vale support want him! Blimey, this is end-to-end stuff now, as a corner by Roberts is defended well down the pitch by Chris Barker. I'm sure of one thing, as the players go off for half-time, and not sure we had 77% possession, thank you BBC, but there will be more goals! Cue a boring goalless second half, which would be quite acceptable in the circumstances! Half-Time: Port Vale 1 Southend United 3 Southend United player markings: TBC Referee - Mr. R. Shoebridge - .
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