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🔎 The Opposition: Southend United (A)

All you need to know about Saturday's opponents

9 October 2020

Exeter City will be hoping for a fourth win in a row, as they make the trip to the East coast to face Southend United in Sky Bet League Two.

Here is all you need to know about Saturdays opponents…

  • Founded: 1906
  • Nicknames: The Blues, The Shrimpers, The Seasiders
  • Honours: League One (2005/06), Fourth Division (1980/81)
  • Home Kit: Hummel Navy blue shirts with white trim and wave pattern, navy blue shorts, white socks.
  • Form: DLLLW (23rd in League 2)

The leading club in Southend around the turn of the 20th Century were Southend Athletic, but they were only an amateur club. Southend United was founded as a more ambitious and professional club in 1906 and immediately joined the Southern League Second Division.

The Shrimpers are an Original Member of the old Division 3 after the leagues formation in 1920. United spent nearly half a century in the third tier before relegation in 1966. The Blues yo-yoed between Division’s 3 and 4 for a number of years including winning their first Division 4 title in the 1980-81 season under Dave Smith.

Southend have had dances with the second tier. Dave Webb returned as a general manager in the late eighties, and in 1991 the Seasiders finally broke into the Second Division where they stayed for six years- before suffering double relegations in 1997/98

In 2006/06, Steve Tilson guided Southend United back into the Championship as League One champions but the stay was short, lasting a solitary season.

Last season was a frustrating one for Sol Campbell’s side. The ex-England defender failed to keep Southend afloat in League One and with only 4 wins the entire season, dropped back down to the Football League’s basement division.

Campbell was soon replaced by Mark Molesley whose tenure has started in rocky fashion- as the Blues sit second bottom going into Saturday’s match with City.

The Manager

Mark Molesley

Mark Molesley was appointed in August 2020 after the sacking of Campbell. The 39-year-old is making his Football league debut as a manager this season, after spells at Weymouth and the Bournemouth Academy after the end of his playing career.

Molsley.jpg

Molesley’s name may ring a bell for a few City fans. The former midfielder played 11 games for the Grecians in 2012/13. Exeter proved to be his final club as a Football League player, as he returned to non-league Aldershot at the end of the same season.

Whilst manager at Weymouth, Molesley guided the Terras to the Southern League title in 2018/19 and National League South play-off winners last term, before being snapped up by his current club.

The Ground

  • Name: Roots Hall Stadium
  • Capacity: 12,392
  • Year opened: 1955
  • Address: Victoria Avenue, Southend-on-Sea, Essex, SS2 6NQ

Southend United originally played at Roots Hall following their formation in 1906 but were forced to move in 1920 to the Kursaal, an amusement park in the centre of Southend. In 1934 the Blues were on the move again, this time to the towns greyhound stadium in Grainger Road- before making a triumphant return to a newly built football-specific Roots Hall in 1955.

Southend are planning to pack their suitcases again when they move to a brand-new out of town stadium. In April 2020, an agreement was been reached between the local council and the Club, enabling the £80m redevelopment of Roots Hall for housing, and the delivery of a new 21,000-seater stadium at Fossetts Farm.

One to Watch

Jason Demetriou

Club captain Jason Demetriou joined the Seasiders in June 2016 and has played over 120 games for the club. The 32-year-old midfielder has a strong international record and is Southend United’s most capped international player, qualifying because of his grandfather, Demetriou had played 51 times for Cyprus, and five as captain. He announced his international retirement on Thursday morning. His one goal for his country was in a 2-1 win over Israel in a European Championship qualifier in 2015. Very much a leader in the dressing room, expect the Cypriot to try and dictate the Blue’s transitions and test Ward from distance.

Head to Head

Next week sees the centenary of the first ever fixture between Exeter City and Southend United, a goalless affair at SJP. Since then the two sides have met 122 times scored over 300 goals between them and averaged 2.5 goals per game. The fixture on Saturday will be the first meeting in five years - after Southend’s return to League 2.

  • Exeter Wins: 40
  • Draws: 38
  • Southend Wins: 45 

Recent Encounters

Exeter City 0-1 Southend United, 18 April 2015

Michael Timlin’s 92nd minute winner was enough to separate the two sides and kept Southend’s automatic hopes alive, whilst denting City’s play-off hopes.

Southend United 1-1 Exeter City, 18 October 2014

Exeter’s most recent trip to Roots Hall ended honours even, as Graham Cummings’ 77th minute goal cancelled out David Worrall’s first half header.

Southend 2-3 Exeter City, 15 February 2014

Goals from Jimmy Keohane, Liam Sercombe and Eliot Richards sandwiched Mark Phillips’ first half double to give struggling Exeter the much-needed points, in a Classic Encounter on the Essex coast. 

And Finally...

Although Southend are most known for their predominantly blue kits, they originally changed their colours for the 1910-11 season to red and yellow hoops, hoping the change would bring the team good fortune. The new strip was deeply unpopular, and the team were dubbed the ‘Beef and Mustards’. After relegation, the same season the traditional blue shirts were quickly restored and continue to kit out the club to this day.

How to Watch

City will be looking to make it 3 from 3 in October and 4 unbeaten as they travel to face Southend United at Roots Hall on Saturday in a 3pm kick-off.

You can purchase a match pass at the cost of just £10 in the UK. The stream includes the live BBC Radio Devon commentary, score overlay and replays.

To purchase a match pass please click here.


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