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Southend United 1; St. Saviour’s 2
St Saviour’s have moved into clear second position following this excellent home victory on Sunday morning. The promoted side from Division 1A are now just one point behind the league leaders Bohemians and there is no doubt whatsoever that they will be there or thereabouts when the title is decided come the end of the season.
The Ballybeg based team fell behind in this game but after that goal they were by far the more impressive team and fully deserved the three points on offer. The entire game was played through a stormy wind which made things difficult for players and supporters alike and it has to be said that the home side got blown away in that wind.

They did not perform in the second half and they could not have any complaints about the final outcome. The conditions were never going to lend themselves to a classic game of football because the ball was more often in the air rather than on the ground, but when one of the sides could get the ball on the deck it was the Saints who proved to be the masters.

Penalty advantage

The first chance of the game arrived after 9 minutes when Southend’s Paul Quilty tested the Saints goalkeeper Graham Cleary with an effort from 20 yards. The goalkeeper got down well to hold on to the ball.

Southend took the lead from the penalty spot on 23 minutes. Paul Quilty cut in from the left and the right full back of St Saviour’s Kenny McLawrence had no option but to trip the winger and referee Noel Purcell pointed to the penalty spot. Daniel O’Sullivan stepped up to take the spot kick and he sent Graham Cleary the wrong way with a well taken kick.

That was to be as good as it got however for the home team. St Saviour’s got back on level terms after 35 minutes. John Paul Jacob played the ball forward from the centre circle and when Stephen Dalton picked up Jacob’s delivery he displayed wonderful class to hammer the ball past Sean Walsh in the Southend goal from just inside the penalty area. This was Dalton’s 4th league goal of the current campaign and he is a really top-notch performer.

Barron winner

The home club almost fell further behind 2 minutes later when Jamie Swift cracked in a smashing effort from 20 yards which narrowly missed Sean Walsh’s net.

On the stroke of half-time Southend had another scare and they were lucky not to go in trailing at half time. John Keane took a free kick from the right side of the penalty area. The ball broke off the Southend wall and fell into the path of Jamie Swift who then laid the ball off to Joe Twoomey who shot at goal from the right but his effort went narrowly of the far upright.

What proved to be the winning goal arrived dead on the hour mark, and a fine goal it proved to be. Stephen Dalton made room for himself out on the left and when his low cross went into the penalty area Billy Barron turned brilliantly before unleashing a low strike past Sean Walsh from 16 yards.

The home management made a couple of changes during the remainder of the game as they tried to get a point from the game but all they could do was huff and puff in the wind without ever making the visitors’ defence work all that hard.

Southend United: Sean Walsh, Chris Feehan, Colin Fanning, Michael Farrell, Daniel O’Sullivan, Michael Caulfield, Anthony O’Rourke, Paul Carey, Lee Hayes, Gavin McLawrence, Paul Quilty. Subs.: Barry Phelan for Farrell (H-T), Keith Greene for Hayes (65 mins), Trevor Elliott for O’Rourke (76 mins).

St Saviour’s: Graham Cleary, Kenny McLawrence, John Keane, Trevor O’Regan, John Paul Jacob, Pat Kiely, Jamie Swift, Billy Barron, Joe Twomey, Stephen Dalton, James Kennedy. Subs.: Colm Keane for Kiely (68 mins), Brian O’Donoghue for Swift (71 mins).

Referee: Noel Purcell.