Southend United 1-2 Oldham Athletic: 90th minute Dearnley winner breaks Blues hearts
The Exeter City team warming up during the Sky Bet League 2 match between Southend United and Exeter City at Roots Hall, Southend on Saturday 10th October 2020. (Photo by Jacques Feeney/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

A 90th minute Zak Dearnley winner secured a 2-1 Oldham Athletic win against Southend United at Roots Hall.

The late goal cancelled out a Tom Clifford free-kick and built on a Bobby Grant opener.

The Latics earned the three points despite the Blues dominating possession throughout the game, as the result leaves Southend without a win and marooned at the bottom of the League Two.

Story of the match

Football is globally loved for its awe-inspiring spectacle of 22 resilient men battling against one another for 90 minutes; however, this particular match may not be quite as eye catching.

A battle of the peasants, bottom of League Two versus 22nd, it would not take a genius to decipher that this game would not host the most entertaining football.

Both managers had clearly read the script as the first 15 minutes consisted of a thrilling zero shots on target. The only chance was an early Jason Demetriou volley that skewed completely wide of the goal.

Oldham fullback Dylan Fage was presented with the first real opportunity of the game as the 21-year old found an abundance of space down the left-hand side. The defender strode into the box with ease but fired his shot high of the net to Mark Oxley’s relief.

James Olayinka was the next Blues player to horribly miss-hit a shot as the Arsenal loanee completely misplaced a drilled attempt from outside the box in the 22nd minute.

As the half an hour mark approached, so did the best chance the game had seen so far. Southend’s Ashley Nathaniel-George collected the ball on the halfway line and ran at the isolated pair of defenders. Thanks to a swift turn, the winger found himself one-on-one with the keeper, but a brilliant recovery tackle quickly distinguished any hope of an opener.

The game fell into a stale-mate, Southend were controlling the ball well but were not able to create any significant chances whilst Oldham looked happy to seek an opportunity to counter-attack. Neither team was either willing or able to blink first.

Blues right back Elvis Bwomono tried to break the deadlock seven minutes before halftime, but an edge of the box strike continued to rise and did not challenge Ian Lawler.

Halftime, 0-0, what a shock.

Although the first half followed the depressing dialogue of both team’s season, Oldham started the second half with intent to change for the better.

It only took four second half minutes for Bobby Grant to open the scoring. Following a well-placed cross, the 30-year old tapped the ball away unmarked at the back post despite suspicion of offside. The deadlock had been broken.

Southend tried to answer back; however, multiple crosses were defended with ease over and over again. It was beginning to look bleak for the Shrimpers.

It was Oldham that came scintillatingly close to adding another as Connor McAleny struck the post from outside of the box in the 67th minute.  

The Blues needed a hero, a man to conjure up a moment of brilliance to stop the suffering. Luckily for Mark Molesley, an unlikely figure stepped up when he needed him the most.

Left back Tom Clifford found the back of the net 77th minute courtesy of a brilliant free kick from 20-yards out. The left footed strike cannoned of inside of the post leaving Lawler with no chance.

Southend looked ignited, there was just ten minutes until the fulltime whistle blew and the boys in Blue were giving everything to try and secure their first win of the season.

A decisive goal nearly came in the 84th minute, as substitute Brandon Goodship rattled the bar from a free kick. So close, yet so far for the Shrimpers.

Terrell Egbri was the next player to come close for Southend, as the youngsters’ shot was parried away by the keeper just five minutes from fulltime.

It looked as if Southend were destined to score the winner, but fate has a sick sense of humour.

As the clock hit the 90th minute, Zak Dearnley found himself one-on-one with Oxley with all the time in the world. A simple touch round the keeper left an open net for 28-year old to slot the ball into. Ecstasy for the Latics, heartbreak for the Shrimpers.


Southend United are in trouble

On the pitch, chances came in rations with the Blues failing to register a shot on target until the first goal was scored, despite controlling possession throughout the game.

It is blatantly obvious the Shrimpers lack a striker, someone who will take the game by the scruff of the neck and help hold the ball in the final third.

All the on the pitch issues are blatant, but off the pitch is just as bad.

With the fate of the clubs HMRC debt being decided in court tomorrow, fans will just be hoping they have a club to support come Wednesday evening.

Supporters of football nationally will be holding their breath, praying another club does not fall victim to liquidation.