Hibs’ Aaron Kennedy takes on Southend’s Stuart Mitchell.  Photos: Jim O’Sullivan

Hibs’ Aaron Kennedy takes on Southend’s Stuart Mitchell. Photos: Jim O’Sullivan

Southend Utd 3; Hibernians 1

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Two clubs trying to stay with Bohemians in the Under 15 League came face to face on Saturday afternoon. Both sides produced some entertaining football during the course of the 80 minutes. With the cup competitions on the horizon this game was an important one for the both sides, but during the period of play all the teams had on their minds was league points.

Hibernians opened up very brightly but it was the home side who took the lead somewhat against the run of play. The visitors then took control again and they scored a deserved equaliser before United came on strong and finished the game like a steam train.

The Hibernians mentors will feel that the final result was perhaps an unfair one but that fact will not worry the Southend management team. Both sides paraded a number of the Waterford Development squad and they all played very well.

James Starmer of Hibs and Paddy Barrett of Southend were very impressive. Overall this was a highly enjoyable contest.

Griffin on the mark

Hibernians took the game to their hosts from the opening whistle and they had a chance after only 2 minutes of play when James Starmer fed Martin O’Neill but the striker mis-kicked in front of goal.

Starmer was involved in the action once again on 13 minutes by whipping over a free kick from the right but Stephen Roche sent his powerful header over the crossbar.

Southend scored with what was their first real attack of the game. They were awarded a free kick 30 yards from goal when Aaron Kennedy fouled Sean O’Loughlin. Paddy Barrett took the free kick and he split the Hibs defence with a delightful piece of quick thinking. The ball rolled into the path of James Griffin and he cleverly touched the game past the advancing Hibs goalkeeper Kyle Sinnott.

That goal came on 15 minutes. Back came Hibernians and they went close 3 minutes later when Martin O’Neill got on to the end of a long ball from Stephen Roche but he was unable to keep his shot on target.

Sean O’Loughlin had a decent chance for United after 28 minutes when he took a pass from Andrew Ryan but his angled low shot from the right side of the penalty area went narrowly wide of the far upright.

It was the home side who had the last opportunity of the first half when Paddy Barrett met a right wing corner kick taken by Glen Hawe but his header went just over Kyle Sinnott’s crossbar.

Starmer scores

Southend went close 3 minutes into the second half through Paddy Barrett, who took an indirect free kick from Richie Fitzpatrick but his shot went inches wide. That scare was the signal for Hibernians to get down to business and they took over completely for a pretty long period of time, with James Starmer involved in everything positive from their point of view.

That fact was well and truly underlined on the hour mark when they scored a deserved equaliser. Chris Dempsey who normally plays as a defender was on this occasion playing between the posts for Southend and he produced a truly wonderful save from Stephen Roche by diving to his right to turn away a piledriver from Stephen Roche.

James Starmer took the corner kick from the left and the unfortunate Dempsey had the misfortune to drop the ball at his near post and the ball rolled over his line. Hibernians one would have thought would have gone on to win the game at that stage but it was the home side who took up the running once again with Paddy Barrett bursting through the Hibs defence following a long ball from the middle of the park but he shot wide on the run.

It was another long ball on 71 minutes which regained the lead for Southend. Stuart Mitchell was the player who played it forward from a busy midfield area and when two defender plus goalkeeper Kyle Sinnott failed to deal with the ball properly, ace poacher Craig Keane was in the right place to touch the ball over the Hibernians line.

That goal appeared to knock the heart out of the visitors and Paddy Barrett put the game out of reach 2 minutes from full time when he ran on to a pass from Glen Hawe and placed it past Kyle Sinnott from just inside the penalty area.

Southend United: Chris Dempsey, Andrew Ryan, Richie Fitzpatrick, Anthony Fitzpatrick, Aidan O’Neill, Craig Keane, Glen Hawe, Paddy Barrett, Sean O’Loughlin, Stuart Mitchell, James Griffin. Subs: Eoin Madigan for Griffin (61 mins), Lee Thorton for O’Neill (61 mins).

Hibernians: Kyle Sinnott, Keith Moore, Luke Walsh, Aron Kennedy, Shane Hayes, James Starmer, Stephen Rocche, Gavin O’Brien, Martin O’Neill, Aaron O’Loughlin, Stephen O’Neill. Sub: David Barry for O’Loughlin (28 mins).

Referee: Jimmy White (Johnville).