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Rayleigh boy

Nov 1, 2006
The Shrimper Truth. – match report and player ratings.

It showed excellent spirit for SUFC to agree to play Spurs and the goodhearted Shrimper hordes again poured much needed cash into the (hopeless) attempt to regenerate this desolate patch of depressing north London. The local football club haven’t won a thing for years and are regulary slaughtered by their local rivals so it was marvellous to see so many good people from Essex agreeing to forgo their beautiful and historic Roots Hall for the industrial wastelands and the White Hart Lane stadium which nestles between ten dodgy kebab shops to the north and ten dodgy kebab shops to the south.

Tilson showed due respect to the opposition by playing an unchanged side but by the official websites own admission training had been less than 100% and the players had even given rugby a go in case that England team went the same way as the cricket boys. Running out the Spurs team looked pretty nervous with Jenas obviously still shaken by the prang that had busted his Baby Bentley. Game on.

Southend had decided to give their back four a good work out and were encouraging the Tottenham winger Lennon by making sure he got plenty of ball. For the first twelve minutes it was the usual fancy dan Premiership rubbish until Hammel finally took pity on the struggling lilywhites by clinically finishing off a pitiful Keane effort that was going straight into Darryls open arms. The poor hordes in the meccano stadium exploded with gratitude. At this point Kevin and Adam seemed to be continuing their debate about Tony Blairs policy in Iraq and the need to resolve the Palestinian issue..

Play continued and Barrett and Clarke began to show off some serious good defensive skills and Flahaven was giving Robinson (in the stands or at home?) another lesson and a few good tips. There was a terrible moment when it looked as if Gower was going to have to embarrass his former employers with a goal but he managed to get out of it and smuggled the ball away. At half time the SUFC management obviously reminded the squad of upcoming significant fixtures and gave the guys some sob story about how hard life is for a Premiership footballers. Another speculative Spurs cross had to be allowed into the box and the defence watched as the desperate Jenas handballed it in.

Given the Shrimpers expertise in refereeing (only getting the bad decisions when its going to turn the game) it was good to see Maher and the boys helping the man in black with an analysis of the video replay. Lennon was still running around in an ineffective way and Keane was suffering some sort of nervous breakdown and getting redder and redder in the face. Southend were still worried about getting stuck with a result and continued to make sure Eastwood got no service at all. McCormack couldn’t risk a booking so had to resist putting the pretty boy Spurs midfielders on their backsides. Bradbury had been playing determinedly within himself and got his reward and an early bath when Harrold was sent on for a run around. Disaster then struck as his very presence threw the Spurs defence into a panic and they quickly gave away a penalty. Eastwood strode up and did the necessary without any fuss.

Spurs were on the rocks and with the Shrimpers support reminding the players of the long term aims of the club another weak Spurs attack was thankfully allowed to develop into a hopeful cross for an offside Mido to power home from two and half yards. The deprived Tottenham fans were exultant and tried to attract the attention of the smug SUFC with provocative little chants about peoples social status. Obviously not an issue for those who choose to support an exclusive club with a beautiful stadium and a restricted maximum membership of 11,500. And before or after the game you can go and have a walk along the seafront - possibley preferable to Tottenham High Road and the Seven Sisters Road.

Finally Harrold couldn’t resist getting amongst the Spurs defence and nicked the ball and gave young Hooper the chance to get a kick a couple of yards out in front of the Spurs goal. Thankfully the youngster put the ball safely out of play and the game ended without any undue stress. Tilson and some of the players thanked the support for coming out and it had been good to see that some of the more thoughtful and articulate SUFC fans had been making the point of buying a few bits and pieces from local shops.

Given the reduced status of the FA Cup it was understandable that SUFC allowed the Spurs to progress and certainly the club has proved its class by stuffing the Premiership leading Mancs. at Roots Hall (FOA of Alan Green radio Five Live – Southend United 1 – Manchester United 0). Regardless it would have been good to see players showcase a bit more of what they can do and to occasionally to have put a move together. I was shocked by Mahers blatent sentimentality when he refused to knock that chance in from 10 yards out. His generosity was verging on condescension.

Darryl – started showing off but calmed down and made sure all Spurs crosses got into the six yard box.

Hammel – made sure of the result by leaving space on the left – good finish for the goal.

Hunt – gave something for Lennon to go round and made sure JCR got to work on his defensive duties.

Barratt – busy practising his last minute interventions. Good roam upfield to leave the defence to work on three on three.

Clarke - - did well not to show off his distribution.

JCR – worked on hard on his defensive duties.

Maher – surprisingly the skipper obviously has strong feelings for THFC which showed.

Gower – obviously didn’t fancy doing his old club down.

McCormack – protected his fitness and tried to help Keane with some on field counselling.

Eastwood –increasingly impressive when he drops back and gave one excellent demonstration for the midfielders of how to spread the play wide.

Bradbury – kept a suitabley low profile.

Support – its obviously unfair to expect the Shrimpers to keep supporting fixtures in this corner of North London. However much sympathy we feel for the supporters of this club (their website – is covered in ads. for money lenders) its seems that a lot of people are ready for something different. Perhaps the Emirates would be worth a visit.