Match report: Southend 1 Exeter City 1Graham Cummins’ second-half strike gave Exeter City a hard-earned point on the road at Roots Hall against Southend United, after the hosts had taken a lead in the first period.
It was a header from David Worrall that had put the Shrimpers ahead, but Cummins’ shrugged off his man to fire City level with 15 minutes to play.
Jimmy Keohane struck the post soon after, but it ended all square in Essex.
City manager Paul Tisdale made just a single change for the Grecians’ trip to Southend United following last week’s home fixture against Hartlepool United. Liam Sercombe was the man to come in, replacing Connor Riley-Lowe who took a seat on the bench.
The Shrimpers controlled much of the ball in the early exchanges but neither team’s goalkeeper was particularly tested.
The hosts could indeed have gone ahead when they countered from a Grecians corner, and a great crossfield ball by Worrall picked out Lee Barnard just on the edge of the box. The striker brought the ball down well but fired over on the half-volley.
At the other end, City were almost gifted a chance when Danny Butterfield picked the pocket of a Southend man, slipped in Jimmy Keohane, and the midfielder slipped in countryman Graham Cummins who drilled over the bar from 12 yards.
Cummins was continuing to provide a threat to the hosts’ defence and it needed a good block from Southend skipper Ryan Leonard to deny the striker a chance to shoot after he had been played in by Sercombe.
And once again Keohane did brilliantly to control a loose ball on the right-hand byline and cut back for Cummins – his first-time strike rippled the net, but it was only side-netting as is first-time effort as just wide of the upright on the near side.
Southend went even closer through Barnard – a shot squirmed through to the striker, who was judged to be onside, but he scuffed his shot against the base of Christy Pym’s far post.
Worrall then passed an opportunity to take the lead – a hanging ball from the left was headed back into the danger area by the winger, but City cleared their lines well.
But when the same kind of ball came in from the left just minutes later from Will Atkinson allowed him to hang up another ball for Worrall at the back stick, who this time headed into his near post.
Half-time: Southend United 1 Exeter City 0
City took a different shape in the second half with David Wheeler replacing Arron Davies at the internal, sending Scot Bennett back into defence. Sercombe collected on the right and narrowly fizzed a fierce shot over the crossbar from a narrow angle.
Sercombe then popped a shot at Daniel Bentley’s goal which was spilled, and Keohane’s follow-up squirmed wide off the legs of a defender.
Lee Barnard had a chance to double the lead, but his strike with the laces of his boots from an indirect free-kick flashed just wide of the target. It came as the Shrimpers lined up a set-piece dead centre and 25 yards from goal.
City finally got back on terms with around 15 minutes left on the clock – a ball over from the right from half-time sub Wheeler found Cummins on the edge of the box, and he just outmuscled his defender and hammered into the net for the equaliser.
It could have been even better for City as Wheeler, this time on the left, sent a low ball into Keohane – his first-time effort was just misdirected and bounced clear off the base of the post.
Ultimately though the four minutes of stoppage time were played out without a goal as it ended 1-1 at Roots Hall.
Full-time: Southend United 1 Exeter City 1
Southend United: Bentley; Leonard, Thompson, Prosser, Binnom-Williams; Worrall, Atkinson, Deegan, Timlin; Barnard (Corr 82), Payne (Weston 78).
Unused subs: Smith, Hurst, Bolger, Clifford, Coulthirst.
Goal: Worrall (34).
Exeter City: Pym; Butterfield, Ribeiro, Oakley, Bennett, Woodman; Sercombe (Noble 85), Grimes, Davies (Wheeler 46); Keohane, Cummins.
Unused subs: Hamon, Nichols, Riley-Lowe, Tillson, Jay.
Goal: Cummins (77).
Referee: Philip Gibbs
Attendance: 5,749 (229 away)