Southend United’s recent bad luck and bad form was compounded over the festive fixtures as the club’s tie with Aldershot was abandoned.
Floodlight failure in nPower League Two, oh the irony.
Let’s face it; Boxing Day’s match abandonment at Aldershot was an utter shambles. Fans were left in the dark as announcements over the tannoy contradicted each other before a decision was finally made to call the game off, and it left a bad taste in the mouth for many who had given up a day with their families to see the Blues in action.
And in the end, two days later, the Shots’ chief executive Peter Duffy did apologise to the Shrimpers faithful for the confusion, saying: “At the time when the game was called off there were a few minutes when it wasn’t clear if the match had been abandoned.”
Southend had taken an early lead thanks to Liam Dickinson’s penalty in the seventh minute. It was an important goal for Dicko considering he had only netted once in his last seven league game and hopefully he can now kick on and regain his early season form which saw him bag a goal every other match. Aldershot on 39 minutes went down to ten-men after Darren Jones was shown a straight red for swinging an arm at the goal scorer.
At the risk of sounding presumptuous, against ten-men it is likely Paul Sturrock’s side would have gone on to win the game, a vital win which would have seen us a point behind leaders Crawley Town, instead we sit third having been leapfrogged by Cheltenham Town.
Our recent FA Cup and Johnstone’s Paint trophy distractions haven’t helped our league form, which sees us without a win in three, a disappointing stat after starting the season at a canter and the presumed win over the Shots would have been a welcome Christmas present going into games with AFC Wimbledon and rivals Dagenham and Redbridge.
The other shambolic feature of the abandonment is something the Football League really needs to take a look at though.
Resident madman and ill disciplined Michael Jackson impersonator, Bilel Mohsni, along with left-back Peter Gilbert had been suspended for the game at Recreation Ground, unsurprisingly in the case of the French-Tunisian. As a result of the abandonment the pair will miss the tie with AFC Wimbledon, it might not sound too bad you might think, but consider the following – due to a booking in the first-half against Aldershot, Dickinson will now also miss the game with The Dons, which is ridiculous.
The result doesn’t count so neither should the yellow or red cards that were given. I understand that would mean Mr. Darren Jones could even be let off despite his violent conduct but looking at the records the match now doesn’t exist. Hopefully the Football League will change this at some point but without it impacting on bigger sides from the three divisions, it’s doubtful an alteration will occur.
Now it’s just for Paul Sturrock and the Shrimpers to get the promotion bid back on track and handle the now impending fixture congestion to the best of their abilities.
Written by Anton Stanley, We Are Going Up’s Southend United blogger
Anton tweets at @AntonStanley