Date: 29th April 2006 at 6:24pm
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This season will go down to the last game yet again as the battle continues for a play-off spot.

We failed to relieve some of the pressure today by only managing to get a point against the Shrimpers.

We threw away a lead twice because of more defensive errors. Eastwood cancelled out Fallon’s goals and it was the visitors who celebrated at the end as they’ve won promotion to the Championship.

Kenny Jackett recalled Lee Trundle back to the starting line-up to paly alongside Rory Fallon.

There was also a surprise start for 17 year-old Shaun MacDonald who replaced Britton on the right wing.

The youngster was impressive and definately warranted his place in the side today.

McLeod kept his place on the opposite flank as O’Leary joined Robinson in the centre.

The defence had their work cut out with Eastwood and Goater up front and Eastwood especially was creating problems for Monk and Austin throughout the 90 minutes.

They shared the guilt as they each made errors to invite Southend back into the game.

The match got off to a good start as Swansea kicked off towards the home fans in the South Stand.

Rory Fallon opened the scoring after 20 minutes with his first goal at the Liberty Stadium.

On his weaker right foot, he received the ball after their defence failed to clear properly and from just inside the area, he unleased a superb shot into the far corner.

The New Zealander was ecstatic as he raced over to the West Stand crowd but he was then booked for taking off his shirt.

Andy Robinson also went close with a long range effort that the keeper tipped over the bar. Lee Trundle also looked sharper early on but he got less involved as the game went on.

He had opportunities to score in decent goal scoring positions but his attempts didn’t force a save from their keeper.

Our lead lasted no more than 10 minutes as Freddy Eastwood’s excellent solo effort put the sides level.

Monk’s poor header fell to Eastwood, and with excellent skill he avoid challenges before finishing with a low strike into the bottom right corner.

It was turning into an excellent competitive game as we were showing a huge improvemen from the pathetic showing against Rotherham 2 weeks ago.

More performances like this this year and we would have been battling for an automatic promotion place, but that’s a different story.

6 minutes after their equaliser, we were back in front and it was Fallon again who was on the scoresheet. The ball was played out wide by Robinson to Tate, his cross was met by Fallon who headered the ball diagonally into the top corner.

The Shrimpers nearly replied quickly again with an equaliser. Gueret was struggling holding onto low bouncing shots and he was lucky to get away with one as the rebound and struck high and wide of the near post.

Trundle went close again when we took a quick free quick but Flahavan got down well to hold on to the low shot. He also looked like scoring to extend our lead but with just the keeper to beat, he screwed his low shot wide of the far post.

Southend showed why they were top of the League with their simple passing game that we always seem to struggle with.

In the second half, we resorted to long hopeful balls towards Fallon as were rarely noticing the space our wingers were creating out wide.

Eastwood got his second goal on 63 minutes, this time it was Austin to blame as he didn’t commit himself to the challenge as the striker beat 2 defenders before sending his shot past Gueret and into the net.

Jackett made his first change 9 minutes later as Trundle was replaced by Knight. He was becoming inactive during the 2nd half after doing well in the first.

Knight was worse when he came as he contributed nothing in the final 20 minutes.

There was bad news for Kevin McLeod near the end as he had to be stretchered off. The left winger played well and showed the determination that he wants to stay at the club.

Taking the lead for the 3rd time during the game was now looking unlikely and the 1,900 Southend fans started celebrating as they game drew to a close as they realised the draw was enough to win them promotion to the Championship.

Lets hope our season at the Liberty Stadium isn’t quite over yet as we travel to Chesterfield next weekend as we battle for a play-off spot.

30 Match photos here

You can rate the players’ performances here

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Player Ratings

Gueret – 6
Fumbled a few shots and was lucky really to get away with it, made some good important saves as well though. Distribution was a problem at times yet again.

Ricketts – 6
Contributed more in attack, and gave options to McLeod when going forward.

Monk – 6
His error gave them their first equaliser in the first half, made some key challenges as well.

Austin – 5
Solid in the first half but a terrible error gifted them their second equaliser.

Tate – 7
Did well all round.

MacDonald – 8
Was excellent today, he’ll be a great prospect for us in the near future.

O’Leary – 7
Battled hard in midfield but I felt him and Robinson were giving Southend too much space in the middle at times.

Robinson – 7
Went close on a few occasions but as above, defensively he was giving the opposition too much space.

McLeod – 7
He did well and looks determined to stay here. Was gutted for him when he had to go off as he was playing well.

Fallon – 9
See star player above.

Trundle – 6
Was a threat early on but faded out of the game in the second half.

Rory Fallon:
Southend Manager, Steve Tilson:
“I thought it was a tremendous effort from the team today and that performance sums up what we have been about this year.

“It is a great day, Freddy has scored two great goals, but overall we showed great spirit and character to come back and I am just over the moon.

Kenny Jackett:
“We need to go there and play with that kind of performance, that type of tempo and that type of goal threat,”

“But it is in our hands. We need to win to get into the play offs so it’s straight forward situation.

“With so much on it I’m sure we’ll take a lot of fans and they’ll make some noise for us and we certainly hope we can do it.”

Rory Fallon:
“I was really relieved to score my first goals at the Liberty Stadium – I didn’t want the season to finish on a sour note,”

“Coming here there’s been a lot of pressure on me but I know I’ve got the goals – it was just a matter of time.

“It was nice to get a couple of goals and show the fans how well I can play.”