Yesterday (Thursday) we took a look at Bury, the third of four teams to be promoted to League One, taking the final automatic promotion place. Today we focus on Southend United, a team who were promoted via the play-offs on penalties after a dramatic Wembley showdown with Wycombe Wanderers in the final.
United will finally make their return to League One after they were relegated into the Football League’s basement division at the end of the 2009-10 season. The Shrimpers were as high up as the Championship in 2006 after storming to the 2005-06 season League One title. After just a season in the second tier though, they were relegated back to League One along with Luton Town and a Leeds United struck by administration.
Southend have made real progression under former Hull City manager Phil Brown, and after losing out in the play-off semi-finals against Burton Albion last season, they were promoted via the play-offs this season after another 5th semi-final, who were looking for an immediate return to League One, they got the better of Wycombe in a penalty shoot-out in the final. theplace finish. After seeing off Stevenage in
The Essex club fell behind in extra time after a goalless 90 minutes, to a Joe Jacobson free kick which actually went down as a Dan Bentley own goal. Miraculously, in the dying seconds of extra time, Charlton Athletic loanee Joe Pigott levelled proceedings to send the game to a shoot-out. After scoring an own goal, Bentley was the hero of the day, saving Sam Wood’s penalty to confirm victory and promotion.
5Last Season:thin League Two (promoted via play-offs)
Courtesy of SkyBet.com
Manager – Phil Brown
The 56 year old former professional footballer, began his playing career with Hartlepool United back in 1978 and he went on to make 217 league appearances (8 goals) for the club before a 1985 move to Halifax Town.
Whilst in West Yorkshire, Brown made 135 league appearances (19 goals). Just three years were spent with Halifax, before he sealed a move to Bolton Wanderers in 1988. It was with the Lancastrians, where he’d make the largest amount of his league appearances; 256 in total, chipping in with 14 goals from his usual full back position.
In 1994, he moved to Blackpool and he spent the final two years of his playing career with the Tangerines, making 44 league appearances (5 goals) before hanging his boots up in 1996.
Although he had a spell as caretaker manager at Bolton in 1999, his first full time job in management came in 2005 as he took over at Derby County. He lasted just 7 months at the club before his dismissal, but in October 2006 he was appointed as first team coach at Hull City, working under Phil Parkinson who was the manager at the time. When Parkinson was sacked in December 2006, Brown took over shortly after.
Brown guided Hull to the top flight in May 2008 for the first time in their history. Dean Windass’ exquisite volley was enough to edge past Bristol City in the Championship play-off final to send the Tigers on their way to the Premier League.
Following a brief stint as manager at Preston North End in 2011, he took over at Southend United in March 2013, and in two full seasons, he guided the club to the League Two play-offs twice, eventually getting another promotion under his belt last month – beating Wycombe Wanderers in the Wembley final.
Key Player – Dan Bentley
With his 22ndbirthday just around the corner, Dan Bentley is still a very young goalkeeper, and a very promising one at that. The boy from Basildon won the Southend United Player of the Year for last season’s performance and he won it comfortably, collecting more than 50% of the votes. He also made it into the PFA League Two Team of the Year.
He was a record breaker last season, with 12 home clean sheets in a row between October and April, surpassing the previous record of 10 held by Mervyn Cawston. He kept 23 in total, nobody in the division kept more than him last season. With age on his side and with a predicted promising future ahead of him, he could well be on the radar of some big clubs, after all he was very much in the public eye with his display in the play-off final last month.
Bentley came through the youth system at Southend United before turning professional in 2009. Until the 2013-14 season, he was used as an understudy to the likes of Glenn Morris and Paul Smith until Phil Brown gave him his chance in the 2013-14 season. He kept 19 clean sheets in 2013-14 to go along with the 23 this season, and he is a firm fixture in United’s staring 11 these days.
In his most recent game for Southend, the play-off final, he was put down as scoring an own goal after Joe Jacobson’s free kick came down off the bar and hit his back before going into the back of the net. This wouldn’t stop it being a great day for him though, as he saved penalties from Matt Bloomfield and Sam Wood in the shoot-out to earn his team promotion back into League One.
Head to Head
Bradford wins: 13
Southend wins: 9
Bradford City 2-2 Southend United
Venue: Coral Windows Stadium
Football League TwoCompetition:
Scorers:Tomlin (10),Assombalonga (11),Hines (53),Hanson (83)