Southend United v Wycombe Wanderers: League Two play-off final – as it happened

23 May 2015 07:37
Southend equalise in the final seconds of extra time to force penalties and win an equally dramatic shoot-out 7-6, winning promotion to League One 8.37pm BST Well, there we go. Southend climb up the steps to receive the trophy – which is lifted by captain John White. It was a match whose start was dramatic – Wycombe’s Sam Saunders being injured just two seconds in – and whose end was what the would kids call “peak play-offs”, Pigott’s fine equaliser coming in the second minute of added time at the end of extra time when it seemed that his team had run out of all steam. These two were pretty much inseparable and it feels so, so hard on Wycombe and the excellent Ainsworth. But they’ll be back. Congratulations to Southend and to Phil Brown – they’ll be a team to watch in League One, I’m sure.Right, I’m spent and maybe you are too. Good job Southend didn’t give up when they felt that way, but that’s it for today. Thanks for reading – bye! 8.33pm BST Just to confirm – the final score was Southend 1-1 Wycombe (Southend win 7-6 on penalties) 8.32pm BST Brown is letting himself go now a little now though, leaping onto Bentley’s back and making for the TV cameras. And now he speaks:“The last time with Hull was great but this is greater. I feel desperately sorry for Gareth. We made a pact to watch the penalties together, we’d been toe to toeto get that equaliser in the 120th minute shows what we’re about. You’ve got to keep believing, that’s a true part of a manager’s job. And we kept believing right until the last kick of the last game of a 49-game season. But a special mention to Wycombe.” 8.30pm BST And amid all this, how lovely from the two managers. Brown and Ainsworth chose to watch the spot kicks together, united in nerves and professional respect. When Bentley made the save, there was no wheeling away from Brown – there was a handshake, some words of consolation and an embrace. Quite touching, that. 8.28pm BST The Shrimpers have done it! Bentley, who had been so unlucky for Jacobson’s goal, guesses correctly, dives to his left and two-hands it onto the post! Wycombe collapse to the ground. Southendwell.pandemonium. They are up! 8.27pm BST Bentley tips Wood’s penalty onto the post! 8.26pm BST This time Wood must score for Wycombe 8.26pm BST Great hit. 7-6 Southend. 8.26pm BST Brown and Ainsworth are watching side by side. Here’s Bolger 8.26pm BST Blimey! Off the post.and in! 6-6! 8.25pm BST Again, Wycombe have to convert and it’s Holloway this time. Bentley is slowing things up 8.25pm BST Sends Lynch the wrong way. 6-5 Southend. 8.24pm BST Myles Weston now 8.24pm BST who slots home and smiles with relief. 5-5! 8.24pm BST Again the pressure is on Wycombe. It’s Jacobson. 8.24pm BST Bash! Hammered home. 5-4 Southend. 8.23pm BST Adam Barrett for Southend 8.23pm BST He does. Sends Bentley the wrong way. That needed some real cojones. Sudden death, 4-4. 8.23pm BST Marcus Bean must score here. 8.23pm BST Cool as you like! 4-3 Southend! 8.22pm BST All square with one to take. Here is Timlin 8.22pm BST Saved by Bentley to his right! 3-3! 8.22pm BST Matt Bloomfield, the veteran. 8.21pm BST Low, clinical and Southend are still in this. 3-3. 8.21pm BST Jack Payne now. 8.21pm BST Never in doubt! Sends Bentley the wrong way. 3-2 Wycombe! 8.20pm BST Paul Hayes, now, for the Chairboys. 8.20pm BST Emphatic. 2-2. 8.20pm BST Ryan Leonard for Southend. 8.19pm BST Goal! Low to Bentley’s left and it’s 2-1 to Wycombe after two apiece! 8.19pm BST Alfie Mawson to take Wycombe’s second. 8.19pm BST SAVED!! Down the middle and Lynch blocks with his legs! 8.18pm BST Now Ben Coker. 8.18pm BST Scores! That was a vital one for Wycombe. 1-1. It might clear a few heads. 8.18pm BST Now Peter Murphy for Wycombe 8.17pm BST He can.just! 1-0 in the shootout. 8.17pm BST First up for Southend is Pigott, who must still be buzzing. Can he focus? 8.17pm BST Southend will take the first penalty, or that’s what I think I just heard. The spot kicks will be taken towards the Wycombe fans. Can Wycombe get what has happened out of their heads? 8.15pm BST This, right here, is why we love the play-offs. Nobody would pretend this has been a great game but the desperation is so high and the margins so high that, in these games, you never know what on earth is around the corner. 8.12pm BST Penalties. My goodness. What an incredible finish. Southend seemed to have gone. They’d done nothing since conceding. Their fans were drifting out – TV pictures show that they’re running back up Wembley Way in their droves! Nobody looks as if they can believe what has happened. 8.11pm BST 120+4 min: I don’t believe it. I really don’t. Weston makes one last burst for the line. His cross is decent and half-headed away. Pigott stretches up a leg, brings it down beautifully inside the box, and slips a left-footed shot into a motionless Lynch’s bottom corner from 15 yards! Play-offs! 8.09pm BST Oh my 8.08pm BST 120+2 min: Into the box from Coker again, headed down by Bolger, cleared 8.07pm BST 120 min: Was that it? Coker gets a rare crossing opportunity from the left, Pigott runs onto it.but can’t direct his header on target 12 yards out. Two added minutes to play. 8.05pm BST 118 min: If I know the play-offs, there’s one more bit of significant action in this yet 8.04pm BST 117 min: Then Southend get a free kick on the left. Put it in the box! Nope – Timlin tries to play it nobody. 8.03pm BST 116 min: Corr heads down cleverly though, but Pigott can’t get onto it.and then Holloway breaks superbly for Wycombe! He’s in the clear! This could finish it! But, one on one with Bentley, he inexplicably tries to check onto his right and is tackled by a recovering defender. Oh dear 8.01pm BST 115 min: Now Leonard is booked for some touchline stroppiness. Southend have gone, it seems. 8.01pm BST 114 min: White is furious to concede a free kick after a wrestle with Holloway. That looked harsh. Wycombe bide their time over the free kick and Wood is booked as a consequence. Little football going on here now, much to Wycombe’s benefit. 7.59pm BST 112 min: Gareth Ainsworth is furious with something Graham Coughlan, the Southend coach, has said. Pointing and shouting on the touchline, with third parties trying to intervene. 7.58pm BST 111 min: Yennaris’s race is run. Peter Murphy’s begins. 7.57pm BST 110 min: A bit of chaos in the Wycombe box though, a couple of high bounces and sliced clearances, and Lynch does well to rise high and take the ball. Now Yennaris has cramp, goes down and that eats up a bit more time. 7.56pm BST 109 min: The Chairboys have started this half as they ended the last one though – firmly in control. Southend have shown nothing since conceding. 7.54pm BST 107 min: Wycombe seem to be going for the corners whenever they get the ball now. It’s a bit early. Holloway had a chance to hare towards the box just then and went straight to toy around by the flag. Risky. 7.52pm BST Ainsworth gees up the Wycombe fans. Brown turns away chewing gum frantically. We begin again. 7.51pm BST Do the Shrimpers have one last push in them? 7.50pm BST 105+2 min: Brave block from Pierre as Southend threaten, then Wycombe counter through Craig and seem to have a man over, but again they’re too conservative and the chance goes. 7.49pm BST 105+1 min: Coker bundles Craig over stupidly by the right corner flag. What was the need? Wycombe prefer a spot of keep ball to a cross though, which seems like a wasted opportunity to go for the throat. 7.46pm BST 104 min: Mawson is down, to boos from the Southend fans. He’s clutching his face after Corr.wellheaded it. This takes the sting right out. Mawson is up and I think he’s ok. 7.45pm BST 103 min: But Wycombe have responded well to going a goal up, and the ball is spending most of its time inside the Southend half. Brown is exhorting frantically. 7.44pm BST 101 min: Lynch comes out to claim ahead of Corr, when for a second you wondered whether there’d been a breakdown in communication between him and Bean. 7.42pm BST 100 min: What do Southend have now? This is going to be desperate stuff for 20 minutes, I suspect. 7.41pm BST 98 min: Southend bring Jack Payne on for Worrall.And oh, that probably will be an own goal – I think the ball was bouncing out before it hit the unfortunate goalkeeper. That was Jacobson’s fine work all day long though. And quite something given that he really should have conceded a penalty in the second half. 7.39pm BST 97 min: That. Was. Perfect. Coaxed over the wall, up and down, off the underside of the bar.and the ball bounces into the net in slow motion! It may just have hit Bentley in the way in, unless there was some particularly wicked spin on it, so perhaps a pedant might call it an own goal. But who cares? It’s a wonderful strike, and Wycombe have the breakthrough! 7.38pm BST Yes he will!!!!! 7.37pm BST 95 min: Holloway dances past Timlin, or tries to but is tripped 25 yards out. A free-kick just to the right of centre. Will Jacobson have a go? 7.35pm BST 93 min: That was a bright start from Wycombe. Southend retaliate but Bolger’s header loops up for Lynch to catch. Can’t remember a serious save the youngster has had to make. 7.34pm BST 91 min: And Hayes wastes a good chance now! A decent ball in from the right, a free header, a mistimed jump and he should do far better than head miles over. 7.33pm BST 91 min: Hayes has a dig immediately but it’s a long way wide. 7.33pm BST Courtesy of Wycombe. 7.32pm BST Ok, let’s do this. Bean is being re-booted, the rest of the players are getting ready for the final 30. Might Weston be particularly important as legs tire? 7.27pm BST Extra-time it is. Plenty of effort, energy, physicality, few real chance although Pierre could have won it late on. Both sides have had little spurts in the ascendancy but nothing too convincing. You’re missing the start of Eurovision, ok? Even if you’re at one of those house parties. 7.25pm BST 90+4 min: Bean is up now, so we’ll continue. 7.23pm BST 90+2 min: It’s cleared. Hearts in mouths here. But play is halted now, with Bean down in the box and requiring attention. That will probably see us through to extra time. 7.22pm BST 90+1 min: Long throw by Leonard, a header by Corr.and off Mawson for a corner on the left 7.22pm BST 90 min: Three added minutes here 7.20pm BST 89 min: Mawson fouls Pigott, who had spun him on the halfway line. Very much a “take the yellow card” challenge. 7.19pm BST 88 min: Closest effort of the game! Pierre thuds a header towards goal and Bentley has to tip over athletically! It was to neither side of him, but fine reactions nonetheless. So nearly a winner for Wycombe. 7.18pm BST 87 min: One mistake now and you’re toast. Bolger has to head over his own bar for a corner after a ball from the right is flicked on. The corner, from the right, is inswung by Jacobson but headed away at the near post. 7.17pm BST 86 min: 38,000 inside the stadium. Hats off. 7.17pm BST 86 min: Wycombe make a change. Ephraim – perhaps their most threatening player, so maybe he’s tired – is replaced by Steven Craig, who is more of a striker. 7.15pm BST 84 min: The corner comes to little but Southend keep pressing. Weston gets on the ball properly for the first time but his cross, from the left, is deflected to Lynch. 7.14pm BST 83 min: Good delivery from Worrall and an excellent header behind for a corner by Pierre. 7.14pm BST 83 min: Bean is sticking very, very tight to Weston. Too tight this time, it’s a foul and a free kick wide on the left 7.13pm BST 81 min: Ephraim crosses again but nobody is there to attack it. You sense we might just see a late twist here though. It has opened right upand as I write, the increasingly-involved Holloway finds Wood in a fine position inside the box on his left foot, but he totally miskicks! 7.11pm BST 79 min: Now this could be interesting. On for Southend comes the lightning-quick winger Myles Weston, replacing Atkinson. 7.10pm BST 79 min: Pigott takes advantage of a poor clearance from Bean and tries to curl one left-footed from 25 yards, but he is well wide again. 7.09pm BST 77 min: Southend come now, and Worrall finds Corr down the line. If he can just get his head up, Pigott is completely free in the box! But instead he continues into the area, tries to shoot and Pierre blocks. 7.07pm BST 76 min: Perhaps indeedHayes then has Wycombe’s clearest chance, fed inside the left of the area by Holloway and, attempting to wrap his right foot round the ball, not getting enough power and seeing Bentley save to his left! Then Wood has a shot repelled by the defence. Is this game coming to life now? 7.06pm BST 75 min: Wycombe come forward though, and Ephraim claims a handball when his cross is blocked by White on the edge of the area. Indeed it is a handball, but it was pretty much ball-to-hand and I’m not sure they were getting that one after the previous incident. Shortly afterwards, Yennaris has a long-range blast blocked. Perhaps I spoke too soon. 7.04pm BST 73 min: Corr heads down and just for a moment it seems as if Pigott will be free to convert.but Hayes is back, tracking superbly again, to snick it away! Southend look by far the more likely winners if this is to be decided in the 90. 7.03pm BST 71 min: Maybe the Shrimpers will be fuelled by injustice. They win another flag kick and it’s played short to Timlin. His left-footed, inswinging cross goes beyond Bean and to an unmarked Barrettwho maybe isn’t expecting it, as he heads off target again from a really presentable chance! 7.01pm BST 69 min: Ooooohshould Southend have a penalty? I think so! Leonard crosses from the left and Jacobson pushes Timlin in the back. He goes down and I’ve just seen a replay – there are no two ways about that, it’s got to be a pen! It was a blatant and quite silly shove. Instead Southend get a corner, and Barrett heads it wide. That’s a big mistake from referee Simon Hooper, I think. 6.58pm BST 67 min: It can’t do Southend too much harm that Pigott has gone up top to take some of the burden off Corr and occupy the centre-backs. McLaughlin didn’t play badly but service and support for the striker were lacking. 6.57pm BST 66 min: Pigott, who looks “rangy”, turns and runs towards the box but wallops well over. A few signs that Southend are getting a bit of room though. 6.55pm BST 64 min: Chance for Corr! Southend find space to construct a move inside the Wycombe half and Worrall crosses from the right. Corr is totally unattended but perhaps the ball is a little behind him, and it’s 15 yards or so out. His header is dived upon by Lynch. 6.53pm BST 62 min: It’s a good, clipped ball by Jacobson and Mawson gets onto itbut nods well wide under Bolger’s attention. 6.52pm BST 61 min: Corner for Wycombe, after a handy ball from Hayes is kept alive by Ephraim and headed behind by Bolger 6.50pm BST 59 min: One of Joe Pigott’s middle names is “Wozencroft”. And here he is. 6.49pm BST 58 min: Both sides look slightly more threatening in open play than in the first half, but it’s still nip and tuck. Southend are about to bring on striker Joe Pigott, on loan from Charlton, to replace McLaughlin. 6.47pm BST 56 min: Leonard tries a volley after a free kick is headed out to him, but Bean takes the force of it. 6.46pm BST 55 min: Jacobson’s left peg has a swish at it but it’s a metre over. 6.45pm BST 54 min: Gareth Ainsworth, it has just been pointed out, has changed his suit. He still looks dapper, even if his “lucky suit” doesn’t look quite as perfectly cut as his cup final suit. He is now wearing a blue shirt too. He might get luckier now as Corr has fouled Ephraim in a shooting position 6.44pm BST 53 min: Bean nips in ahead of McLaughlin but is caught and sent flying. Appeals for a card, which is a shame, but nothing doing. 6.42pm BST 50 min: Close! Atkinson glides through the midfield and feeds McLoughlin, overlapping on the left. His low cross is an invitation for Worrall to tap in but Jacobson is over superbly to intervene at the last. Then Atkinson tries a volley inside the area but shins it into the air. Better tempo now though. 6.39pm BST 48 min: Timlin, resplendent in Petr Cech-style protective headgear, has been very quiet but is among a couple of Southend players to see crosses cleared. Then he feeds McLoughlin on the left but Bean stands his ground and Wycombe advance. 6.38pm BST 47 min: And a good start from Wycombe! Ephraim receives the ball inside the area, jinks onto his left foot and his shot is deflected wide of the near post for a corner. From the flag kick, Mawson heads well over. 6.37pm BST So there you go. 6.36pm BST Here we go, the teams are back out. Phil Brown has lips pursed and arms folded. He’s having a chat with one of his substitutes – and it’s a strong bench at that, with the likes of Myles Weston in waiting. No changes though. 6.23pm BST I said this could be a cracker and, well, it’s not. But it still might be. And fair play to Wycombe for dusting themselves down after losing one of their best players – Saunders – literally a couple of seconds in. Southend held sway for a while after that, threatening from some set pieces and seeing a Corr header ruled out for Bolger’s needless foul, but Wycombe scrapped their way back in and were marginally the better side as the half closed. Nobody’s created a lot though, and it’s still impossible to pick a winner. 6.21pm BST You’re all going to miss the start of Eurovision if this goes the full length I’m afraid, as seems likely just now. Nil pois apiece. 6.20pm BST 45+2 min: Not too many risks being taken here. Drifting towards the break. 6.18pm BST 45 min: Atkinson is, slightly mystifyingly given that he’d seemed to be under close attention, given room to cross and it’s another peach, right into the six-yard box but impossible for Lynch to come for. Mawson heads away though. We’ll have three extra minutes here. 6.15pm BST 43 min: The ball remains a hot potato but you fancy Wycombe’s technique slightly – very slightly – more in advanced areas. 6.13pm BST 41 min: Now Wood receives the ball 25 yards out and cracks one not far over. Wycombe are now in the ascendancy, if anyone is. 6.12pm BST 40 min: Wycombe get a rare chance to run into space and the ball is worked to Ephraim, who looks their best bet at the moment. His right-footed cross is another teasing one and Hayes readjusts cleverly to jab a close-range effort at Bentley. That was good. 6.10pm BST 38 min: So many fouls. Although, before committing his latest one, Hayes did force Bolger to head away another cross. 6.09pm BST 37 min: Yes, this has become A Scrappy Match. Wycombe are winning a few free kicks in the Southend half and that’s it. Already looks like a game that may be decided by one goal – and could even go all the way to that Brown/Ainsworth sing-off. 6.07pm BST 35 min: Things have broken up rather after that spell of Southend pressure, which Wycombe won’t mind. It’s fairly frenetic and clear openings are coming a comfortable second to niggly fouls. 6.05pm BST 33 min: At some length, the free kick from that Bolger foul is taken and it’s not bad from Ephraim. It goes out of play beyond the back post but he clearly feels that Pierre should have tried harder to get onto it. 6.04pm BST 32 min: Preston and Middlesbrough are both watching this one in the stadium, although Aitor Karanka is twiddling on his phone and looking bored. Let’s hope his lot can thrill us on Monday, then. 6.03pm BST 30 min: Corr seems to be barged off the ball by Pierre as he chases a through pass, but nothing is given. Shortly afterwards, Bolger scythes Wood down agriculturally as he makes headway in the Southend half and takes a yellow card. 6.01pm BST 28 min: Not a million miles away from Pierre there though, as he flicks a deep free kick wide. It actually came off Barrett last and should have been a corner. 6.00pm BST 27 min: Wycombe still struggling to pose many questions. Southend are notoriously stingy at the back but you wonder how much they’re missing the guile of Saunders. 5.57pm BST 25 min: “Holloway, wherever he is, just hit him,” shouts a voice from the Southend bench. That voice will refer to the Wycombe dangerman Aaron Holloway, who has been quiet enough so far without being “hit”. 5.56pm BST 24 min: And a goano! Great ball over from Worrall and an accurate header into the net at the far post from Corr – but Bolger, in front of him, had pushed Yennaris and the foul is given! Quite rightly too, but I don’t think Yennaris was going to get that ball. Corr might justifiably be annoyed with his team-mate there. 5.55pm BST 23 min: Now McLaughlin gets away from right-back Bean, who should have offered a more convincing challenge, near the corner flag and Hayes, coming back to assist, barges him over. Yellow card, free kick 5.53pm BST 21 min: Mawson gives away a free kick and it’s played quickly to Coker, whose cross is headed out as far as Bolger, who is a centre-back but seems to be getting all the chances at the moment. Southend will wish he hadn’t had that one, as he slashes the ball anywhere but on target. 5.51pm BST 19 min: Wycombe get a foot or two on the ball but Jacobson passes it out of play on the left. A few no-quarter-given challenges flying in now. 5.49pm BST 17 min: Another Southend corner swung out by Atkinson, another Bolger header. This one is brave, stooping to get ahead of Mawson’s flying boot, and not too far wide. Decent chance once he’d got there. Shrimpers on top at the moment. 5.48pm BST 16 min: “The nonsensical playing of the national anthems at the play off finals is just one of many reasons why I’m so glad that my beloved Bury went up automatically,” writes a seething Bernard Walsh. “I hate the play offs, they are a monstrosity, but at least both Wycombe and Southend are decent sides, it would have been so much worse if Stevenage or Plymouth had been in with a chance of going up after enjoying underwhelming seasons.” 5.47pm BST 15 min: Saunders’ injury was to his calf, apparently. Devastating for him. 5.46pm BST 14 min: Southend win a third corner after that, and Atkinson outswings it from the right onto Bolger’s head, but the downward effort bounces to Lynch. 5.46pm BST 13 min: It’s flicked away by Yennaris for a flag kick on the opposite side. This time Atkinson’s inswinger is pawed away by Wycombe’s 20-year-old goalkeeper, Alex Lynch. 5.44pm BST 12 min: Good footwork from Hayes out on the right sees him dink a cross into the centre but Bolger flings a head onto it. Southend counter and seek out Corr, who gets Mawson one-on-one but has to settle for a right-sided corner. 5.43pm BST 11 min: McLaughlin tries a clip over the top this time but nobody is reading it. One or two good early signs for Brown’s team though – Corr has won a couple of headers against Mawson. 5.42pm BST 10 min: Half a sight for Hayes from 20 yards but his shot is scuffed. High-paced and fairly direct stuff here since that early delay. 5.41pm BST 8 min: Gareth Ainsworth looks quite the smartened-up old rocker in his suit and slicked-back hair. He might be worried as McLaughlin gets the chance to cross from the left after a Bean mistake, but the ball is wayward. 5.39pm BST 7 min: Now Worrall plays a good cross in of his own for Southend, swung in from the right, but Aaron Pierre gets it away. 5.38pm BST 6 min: Good from Wycombe here though as Hogan Ephraim, on the left flank, puts in two dangerous balls – the first one of which is cleared desperately as Hayes lingers. 5.37pm BST 5 min: How will Wycombe – and indeed this game – settle down now? That was an extraordinary, unfortunate start. 5.36pm BST 4 min: No, Saunders is going off. That’s such a cruel twist of fate. The ball was played back to him from kick-off and Atkinson, chasing in, just caught him from behind. It didn’t look an awful tackle but that’s it – Wycombe will be forced into an early change. We’ve had a three-minute stoppage here. And here, to replace Saunders, comes long-serving stalwart Matt Bloomfield. 5.34pm BST 1 min: An early problem for Saunders, who was caught within literally a second of kick-off by a rabidly eager Atkinson and is receiving treatment. He’s been very important to Wycombe, this isn’t good – he’s limping. 5.33pm BST Good luck, all. 5.28pm BST And here comes the national anthem. Ainsworth and Brown both belting it out tunefully. 5.26pm BST The teams will be introduced to a selection of suits, now. Shouldn’t be a minute or two. 5.25pm BST And here they are. Wycombe fans hold up dark and light blue cards and make a nice-looking display at one end; Southend supporters hold up scarves and flags to create a sea of yellow at the other. 5.24pm BST The teams are in the tunnel. Wycombe in their usual blue chequers, Southend in yellow. Looks like a decent crowd – considerably bigger than the 14,000 who watched Fleetwood beat Burton last year, for sure. Not long now 5.19pm BST In Wycombe’s team too is Nico Yennaris, also on loan from Brentford, who is a right-back or midfielder (latter today I think) and had a decent runout in the Premier League for Arsenal against Manchester United a few years back. Canny use of the loan market might just prove a critical factor in this game. 5.16pm BST It would be nice to hear your thoughts. Who will win? Which manager has the edge in the dugout and/or down the mic? Tell us. 5.12pm BST Dangermen today? Barry Corr scored 15 goals in the league for Southend; Paul Hayes, with 14, was Wycombe’s top marksman. They will be well supported by the likes of McLaughlin and another loanee – Brentford’s Sam Saunders, who has been superb for Wycombe. 5.07pm BST Goal action here from that 2-2 draw at Roots Hall in March: 5.04pm BST Wide man Stephen McLaughlin, the Nottingham Forest loanee, is the one change in the Southend team that you saw earlier by the way. He replaces Joe Pigott. McLaughlin came off the bench to score the vital second goal against Stevenage nine days ago.Wycombe are as you were – or as they were anyway – in the second leg against Plymouth. 4.59pm BST If past football results are your preferred harbingers for footballing success or failure, stat up on this: Wycombe beat Southend by a whacking 4-1 in December, albeit the Shrimpers were reduced to 10 men in the second half, and the teams drew 2-2 in Essex three months later. 4.52pm BST In the event that the two managers can still not be separated, Phil Brown wins – and consequently Southend are promoted – with this: 4.50pm BST In the event that today’s play-off final is tied after 120 minutes, the winner will be decided via the medium of song. A panel will judge between these two videos: 4.35pm BST Team vs @wwfcofficial: Bentley, White (c), Bolger, Barrett, Coker, Worrall, Atkinson, Leonard, Timlin, McLaughlin, Corr. #BluesAtWembleySubs vs @wwfcofficial: T. Smith (GK), Prosser, Weston, Payne, Deegan, Cassidy, Pigott. #BluesAtWembley 4.33pm BST TEAM NEWS: Lynch, Yennaris, Jacobson, Mawson, Pierre, Saunders, Bean, Wood, Ephraim, Holloway, Hayes. #WYCvSOUSubs: Horlock, Bloomfield, Craig, Murphy, McClure, Kretzschmar, Onyedinma. #WYCvSOU 4.12pm BST The play-offs are lovely, aren’t they? Lovely if you’re a neutral. If you’re not, they’re generally a sort of skewedly entertaining hell. I know this myself from just a week ago, but we’ll not go there. Instead let’s go to Wembley and the first of this season’s one-off, impossible-high-stakes shootouts. And this one, the face-off for a place in League One, looks too close to call.Meet Southend, who missed the chance to go up automatically when they dropped the ball against Morecambe on the final day of the league season but fully deserved the semi-final win over Stevenage that brought them here today. That wasn’t without its own bit of play-offishness though: deep into injury time, with the scores level, Michael Timlin crashed a penalty onto the bar at Roots Hall and it seemed as if the fates were conspiring against Phil Brown’s team. They had been the better side on the night though, and scored twice in extra time to erase any regrets. Now they have the chance to make sure their five-year stay in the bottom tier is extended no further. Continue readingreadfullarticle

Source: TheGuardian