Sunderland ended the regular season in unspectacular fashion Southend got the win to secure their League One future and the lads will face Portsmouth in the Playoff semi-finals.
Jack Ross’ men were awful in the first half and were deservedly behind as Tom White scored the goal in the first half. Chris Maguire’s penalty got Sunderland level, but Stephen Humphreys late goal won the game.
To end the regular season Sunderland travelled to Southend looking to gain some momentum going into the crucial playoff semi-finals.
While Sunderland’s playoff fate was already decided a win here would be huge not only for momentum but the possibility of finishing above Portsmouth and finishing third.
Jack Ross made four changes as Adam Matthews, Denver Hume, Grant Leadbitter and Charlie Wyke all came in for Luke O’Nien, Bryan Oviedo, Lee Cattermole and Lewis Morgan respectively.
Southend’s League One’s future was hanging in the balance and win would guarantee their safety anything else and their future would be out of their hands.
Southend had the first big chance of the game as he was slipped through on goal by Simon Cox and Dru Yearwood couldn’t beat Jon McLaughlin who stood tall and saved brilliantly.
The chance had spurred the hosts on and looked by far the more likely to break the deadlock early on in the match.
Sunderland didn’t look at the races and, in a game, where Southend need to win it’s not going to end well.
Southend had another big chance as Yearwood got on the end of a Sam Mantom cross, but he couldn’t get the contact he was looking for – another sign of the Sunderland back line looking poor.
After 25 minutes Sunderland finally created something as Gooch did well cutting in from the left and found Chris Maguire who beat his man and should have scored but he smashed it off the side netting.
Sunderland had a great chance to take the lead as the lads worked it brilliantly up the field and Gooch down the left had Wyke and Maguire in acres of space in the box, instead, his cross/shot was poor and went out for a goal kick.
Southend took the lead with a crucial goal from a corner as John White scored a bicycle kick from close range. A huge goal at the bottom of the table and they had deserved it.
Going off the first half performance either Portsmouth or Charlton must be delighted to be playing us. We had no fire, no desire and looked awful.
The early stages of the second half were poor and the lads created next to nothing with just over 15 minutes gone. Grigg and Gooch were withdrawn as Kazaiah Sterling and Luke O’Nien came on to shake things up.
Sunderland were so unfortunate not to get a penalty as Wyke was brought down in the box as he was about the get on the end of a cross the ref was unmoved as he let play go on.
The lads were coming into the game more and more as Maguire played a great ball to Sterling who whipped it across the box but couldn’t find O’Nien in the box.
From a free kick, Maguire laid it off for Leadbitter whose brilliant strike just went past the post – a great chance with 20 minutes to play.
Southend could have sealed it as Timothee Dieng’s blocked shot fell to Stephen McLaughlin was denied by his namesake in the Sunderland goal.
Sunderland were given a penalty with 15 minutes to play as Charlie Wyke was pushed in the back by White who didn’t need to as Mark Oxley would have got there.
Maguire stepped up and his effort was too powerful for Oxley who got a touch to It but couldn’t keep it out. The lads had been much the better since the two changes from Ross.
The lads could have got a winner as Sterling got on the end of a Maguire cross and his shot just flashed wide of the near post.
Southend scored with only four minutes to go as substitute Stephen Humphreys got on the end of a loose ball in the box and fired it underneath McLaughlin to keep Southend in League One.
Full Time: Southend 2-1 Sunderland
ALS Man of the Match: Chris Maguire