Southend United 2 Stevenage 0

Graham Westley

Graham Westley - Credit: Archant

Shrimpers net twice in opening 20 minutes to take all three points in this afternoon’s League 2 match

Southend United 2 Stevenage 0

Sky Bet League 2

Stevenage suffered their first league defeat of the season as Southend scored two early goals to sink Boro at Roots Hall.

After last weekend’s straightforward victory over Hartlepool United, a team who are likely to be struggling at the wrong end of the table come May, this was Boro’s first real test of the new league campaign and it was one they failed to overcome.

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Stevenage’s early season form had been encouraging after a 1-0 victory over Hartlepool was followed by a good display but a single goal defeat to Watford in the Capital One Cup midweek.

Yet the Shrimpers, who under manager Phil Brown made the League 2 play-offs last season and are likely to be in the mix again this term, are a different proposition. Once the hosts took the lead their recent record – five clean sheets in their last seven league games at home – suggested this would not be Boro’s day.

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Added to that the fact that going into the game Boro had not scored a goal in their five previous away matches, and the opening goal became vital.

It went the way of one of Southend’s summer signings, winger Miles Weston, who converted Barry Corr’s knockdown with just nine minutes on the clock.

Eleven minutes later and the hosts had their second with Corr once again assisting, this time laying off the ball for Ben Coker to strike home from the edge of the box.

In addition to a strong back line and a creative midfield, the hosts also have one of the better goalkeepers in the league in Daniel Bentley and the 21-year-old made two stops, including one from Adam Marriott, as Brown’s men held on for the win.

Next up for Boro is another away day at Plymouth Argyle on Tuesday evening. It is the first of three long midweek away games before Christmas with Bury and Portsmouth to come.

The one good thing about the weekend, though, was that Boro will be at home in the first round of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy after Graham Westley’s men were paired with Gillingham in today’s draw.

Southend: Bentley, White, Coker, Leonard, Bolger, Porsser, Hurst (Worrall 74), Clifford, Coulthirst (Barnard 82), Weston, Corr. Subs: Ibenfeldt, Thompson, Payne, Layne, Smith.

Stevenage: Beasant, Ashton, Dembele (Okimo 75), Walton, Worley (Bond 14), Wells, Whelpdale, Lee, Marriott, Charles, Pett (Deacon 58). Subs: Day, Calcutt, Johnson.

Att: 5,397

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