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Blue tinted optimist⭐
Oct 28, 2003
Cloud cuckoo land

What a day my 7 year old daughter decided to insist on making her Roots Hall debut. I think it was her insistence on sitting in the front row of the East blacks that made this a fairly painful (and wet) experience.

On the pitch the first half wasn't much better. A drab opening 15 minutes came to life with McCormack having a shot that fizzed wide and Clarke having a point blank header saved. But Barnsley contained Blues for the most part with relative ease and to be honest should have been comfortably ahead at the break. Hayes had shaved the post in the opening 2 minutes and there had been several occasions when the ball fizzed across the home goal but without a final touch being applied. It was Nardiello who had the best chance when he turned Barrett inside out and when the blues man was flat on his back he drew Flahavan before slotting the ball wide.

For some reason the referee and assistants changed from yellow shirts to black for the second half, which was a decision just as bizarre as why the bluebelles cancelled their routine but opted to stand in the torrential rain instead.

The weather played more of a part in the second half with rainfall of what appeared to be biblical proportions.  This did not really help Southend whose attempts to play free flowing football on the deck were thwarted by the ever increasing number of puddles, especially on the right hand side in front of the West stand.

But nonetheless they were in complete control and McCormack drove them forward at every opportunity.  On another day Freddy would have had a hatful and Barnsley just were not in the game.  Finally, there was a breakthrough.  A free kick was awarded on the edge of the box and Freddys low strike was deflected past the keeper by Gower.

Southend had several more opportunities, the best one falling to Gower with 10 minutes left.  Freddy and Gower broke in a 2-v-1 and Eastwood negotiated 6 puddles and the defender before laying the ball square for Gower, 8 yards out with just the keeper to beat.  The remaining Barnsley players had started to line up for the centre as his low shot was more-or-less straight at the keeper who parried it away.  It was a shocking miss.

The enormity of that was not to be discovered until 15 seconds from time.  The game had now descended into farce.  Tilson had brought on a sub, not the nautical variety (which would have been useful) but the recalled Guttridge for the struggling McCormack.  If the game had kicked off 30 minutes later I would say it was in danger of being abandoned.  I for one have never witnessed such farcical conditions at the Hall.

It was a constant source of annoyance that, despite the conditions, certain players insisted on playing the ball on the deck which was absolutely pointless.  One such pass was picked up by a Barnsley player who somehow worked his way into the box and shot at Darryl, who palmed the ball upwards.  In the ensuing bundle for possession, the ball wound up in the net but apparently not only was the Barnsley scorer offside but he also used his arm.

So it’s back to Oakwell for the replay on Tuesday week.  Lady luck deserted us again but I for one will not object if we are unlucky in the cup but lucky in the league – the complete opposite of our first half of the season.

Ratings –

Flahavan – 7 – Possibly impeded for the goal.  Otherwise sound.

Hunt – 6 – Fairly torrid first half but improved.
Hammell – 6 – Not one of his better games.
Barrett – 8.5 – MOM – Sponsors MOM also.  Rock solid except for one moment in first half.  Good to see him back.
Clarke – 8 – Another good performance but distribution lets him down.  Defence wise gets better and better.

Gower – 7 – Always wanted the ball but guilty of a crucial and woeful miss
Maher – 6 – Seems to be struggling a bit of late.  Several misdirected passes in first half.
McCormack – 8 – Great engine and really spurs the team on
JCR – 7.5 – Another decent performance but no-one was on the end of the crosses.  In the second half he was playing in a lake and found it almost impossible.

Eastwood – 8 – Gave his all and on a dry day could have had several
Bradbury – 7 – Good knock ons and hold up play, as usual


Guttridge – 6 – Difficult to get involved as it was almost water polo when he came on

The ref – 7 – Apart from the last minute howler, I thought he had a sound game.  Very fair and played advantage well.  Why the mix up with his shirt which started out yellow, then went to black and back to yellow I don’t know.


Agree with ratings, except I don't remeber Peter Clark squandering possesion as suggested.

Have to say I think CLark has been a revelation of late. His last four performances have been OUTSTANDING - so good that I think hes looking almost better than Barrett even though Barett has been excellent as well recently.

Shrimp in a Kilt

Given the quagmire on Saturday, I am suprised that JCR wasn't subbed for Paynter, who's build would have made him better able to cope with the conditions.

Westcliff Shrimper

Director of Footballs⭐
Apr 8, 2004
[b said:
Quote[/b] (superhooper @ Jan. 07 2007,18:57)]Agree with ratings, except I don't remeber Peter Clark squandering possesion as suggested.

Have to say I think CLark has been a revelation of late.  His last four performances have been OUTSTANDING - so good that I think hes looking  almost better than Barrett even though Barett has been excellent as well recently.
Distribution of the ball from the back is possibly the weakest part of Clarke's game - anything over 9 or 10 yards is hoofed off the pitch, which is really not good enough for this level.

However, his overall game is getting better and better - and could have scored on Saturday with a bullet header that I don't think the goalkeeper knew too much about...