FC Halifax Town lost 2-1 at play-off chasing Southend United at Roots Hall in the Vanarama National League tonight.
Town boss Chris Millington made two changes from the FA Trophy game at the weekend with Adam Senior and Jesse Debrah coming into the starting XI with Jack Hunter & Tom Clarke missing out.
Debrah put Town ahead deep in first half injury time forcing the ball home from a Mani Dieseruvwe knock down from a corner, despite appeals from Southend for handball, for his second goal of the campaign. Jack Bridge equalised for the Shrimpers on the hour mark from the penalty spot. The home side won the game with just over 10 minutes left, a Bridge corner was sent into a dangerous area. It looked like to have come off Debrah, but Scott-Morriss wheeled away in celebration.
The first opportunity of the game came in the 11th minute for the home side. Harry Cardwell went down the right-hand side, his cross was headed out for the first corner of the game. Bridge’s cross was headed goalwards by Scott-Morriss but it was straight at Sam Johnson.
Town’s first opportunity was in the 21st minute, a good move found Max Wright on the right-hand side, he found Milli Alli on the edge of the box, his shot was saved by Southend United’s goalkeeper Blondy Nna Noukeu who palmed the ball away before the home side cleared.
Southend captain Nathan Ralph got to the by-line three minutes later and his cross was blocked for the home side’s second corner. Bridge’s ball into the box was cleared.
Scott-Morriss was the first man in the book with a foul on Harvey Gilmour in midfield, the freekick from Tylor Golden was sent into the box and a Southend defender headed back towards goal, which was claimed by Nna Noukeu, but play was stopped for an offside flag and an injury to Harry Cardwell inside the six-yard box.
A long ball forward looked for Mani Dieseruvwe who went down under a challenge from Ollie Kensdale, the ball went out for a goal kick but Town’s top goalscorer looked at referee Robert Massey-Ellis claiming a penalty for a shirt pull but nothing was given.
A superb interception from Town captain Jordan Keane inside his own half, he raced forward and found Adam Senior on the overlap and won a corner. The ball into the box was met by Mani Dieseruvwe at the far post but was well saved by Nna Noukeu
In the last five minutes of the first half, Scott-Morriss won a corner on the far side. Cavanagh Miley’s ball went into the box and there was a collision in the box between Cardwell and Dieseruvwe. The referee stopped play immediately for treatment to both players.
Shaun Hobson followed Scott-Morriss into the book before the break for a shirt pull on Dieseruvwe on the halfway line.
Late in injury time, Alli won a corner on the near side. The ball into the box was headed by Dieseruvwe and tapped home by Debrah from close range for the opening goal of the game. There were appeals for handball from the Southend players and fans, Ollie Kensdale was booked by the referee in the aftermath for his reaction to the goal being given.
Southend were forced into their first substitution at the start of the second half with Henry Sandat on for Cardwell who was injured at the end of the first half.
The home side started the second half brightly forcing a couple of corners and crosses into the box, but the Town defence held firm.
A penalty was awarded on the hour mark for a foul by Jamie Stott on substitute Sandat which gave the home side a chance to equalise from the spot. Bridge stepped up and send Johnson the wrong way to make it 1-1.
Millington made his first change on 67 minutes with Rob Harker on for Alli.
With 20 minutes left, a freekick into the box came to Callum Powell and his shot was blocked by Johnson inside the six-yard box.
Good play for Town saw Max Wright and Adam Senior combine to win a corner just a minute later. The ball into the box was claimed by Nna Noukeu unchallenged and Southend countered winning a freekick just outside the box. Powell stepped up to take the freekick and his effort was straight at Johnson who made the comfortable save.
A ball through for Sandat to chase, he went down under a challenge from Debrah as Johnson claimed. Sandat wanted a second penalty, but the referee correctly waved away his appeals.
Southend took the lead just over 10 minutes left, a Bridge corner came off Debrah to make it 2-1 but Scott-Morriss wheeled away celebrating the goal.
On loan striker Fidel O’Rourke replaced Max Wright as Town looked to find an equaliser.
Substitute Rob Harker was booked for a high challenge on Scott-Morriss who was forced off the pitch due to the injury and was replaced by Louis Lomas.
Seven minutes of injury time was signalled by the officials, Jordan Keane forced a save from the keeper with the final effort of the game but Town and their 34 travelling fans return back north with no points from their trip to Essex tonight.
The Shaymen are back in action on Saturday with a trip to Boreham Wood in the Vanarama National League in the front of the BT Sport cameras, 5.20pm kick-off.
Southend United 40 Blondy Nna Noukeu, 2 Gus Scott-Morriss (4 Louis Lomas 87), 3 Nathan Ralph ©, 5 Shaun Hobson, 6 Ollie Kensdale, 7 Jack Bridge, 8 Noor Husin, 11 Callum Powell (10 Dan Mooney 90), 16 Harry Taylor, 17 Cavanagh Miley, 23 Harry Cardwell (36 Henry Sandat 46)
Subs: 18 Wesley Fonguck, 24 Jason Demetriou
FC Halifax Town: 1 Sam Johnson, 27 Adam Senior, 2 Tylor Golden, 5 Jesse Debrah, 6 Jamie Stott, 3 Jack Senior, 16 Jordan Keane ©, 20 Harvey Gilmour, 21 Milli Alli (17 Rob Harker 67), 28 Max Wright (29 Fidel O’Rourke 82) 9 Mani Dieseruvwe
Subs 14 Jack Hunter, 22 Festus Arthur, 26 Louis White
Referee: Robert Massey-Ellis
Goals: Debrah 45 + 4, Bridge 60 (pen), Scott-Morriss 79
Yellow Cards Scott-Morriss 29, Hobson 45, Kensdale 45 + 4, Harker 85
Red Cards: None
Attendance: 5045 (34 away)
Southend United 2 FC Halifax Town 1
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