With 90 minutes gone, but a few minutes of injury time left, the away end was silent and half empty as Hammond was celebrating the winner in front of the family stand. What a final 10 minutes that was, the best at Withdean for a long long time.
The first 80 minutes were poor and Southend the better team. We played a very defensive 4-5-1 formation with Forster isolated upfront and Revell out wide on the right. O'Callaghan sat in front of the back 4 and Martot was playing down the middle with Hammond. Cox started out wide left. Lynch was back in at left back.
The formation IMHO handed Southend the initative and nobody was surprised when we went 1-0 down just before half time. Not sure if it was a deflection or a miss hit but Kuipers was wrong footed and we were 1 down.
Revell missed our two efforts in the first half. he missed a glorious chance with a free header putting it wide and then just on half time he should have made it 1-1 but hit the post with another header. I dont recall their keeper making a save in the first half.
We expected changes at half time from Wilkins who again sat in the North Stand and was not on the bench, but no subs. Revell was pushed up front to make it 4-4-2.
With about 25 minutes left we saw some changes at last with Rents on for Butters (lynch went to centre back) and Robinson for Cox. We suddenly looked a different team but still couldnt score. Rents was pushing forward from the left with Robinson just in front.
Cox had a shot saved just before he was subbed and that had been it until Savage came on for Martot. Almost instantly he changed the game. He won a header from a Rents cross and Forster made sure it was over the line.
Then a hammer blow, Southend broke back and were 2-1 up with a well taken goal. So that was that.........but no it wasnt!!!
Savage was getting involved in everything and Robinson was doing the same on the other wing. Revell and Savage swopped with Bas going in the middle, and from a ball knocked too far from a cross, Savage followed the ball, turned, put in a great cross and Forster buried the header into the roof of the net for 2-2.
Southend looked shell shocked and in the last minute we won a corner. Rents swung it in and Hammond ran in unmarked at the far post to head in the winner.
What a great come back.
We defended the last few minutes well and Forster nealry made it 4-2 but the keeper blocked well.
I hope Elphick and O'Callaghan are OK as both had to go off during the game for stitches and are both claiming to have been elbowed. The refereee ignored both protest but the blood was pretty good evidence!
Kuipers - 7 solid game , good handling
Lynch - 7 good return, better at centre back
Butters - 6 solid game
Elphick - 7 another good game
El-Abd - 6 solid
O'Callaghan - 8 100% effort and looks a good ball player
Martot - 5 a bit off the pace but showed some nice touches - promising
Hammond - 6 slow start, but a great header for the winner
Cox - 4 poor match and now has 4 yellow cards this season
Revell - 5 worked hard but should have scored with 2 headers
Forster - 7 two good goals (right place at the right time)after a frustrating time playing as a lone striker
Robinson - 8 looked hungry, eager and got involved when on the pitch
Rents - 9 set up 2 goals and pushed forward almost as a wing back!
Savage - 9 and my MOTM for making an impact where it was needed