‘The complete performance’ is how Darren Ferguson described this win, and it’s hard to disagree.
Rovers were the better side in the first half; more fluid and open than their hosts, and went in at the break with a deserved lead. Nathan Tyson’s deftly weighted pass, slotted into the roof of the net by Andy Williams. Better though Rovers were, it took a flying Thorsten Stuckmann to maintain the lead to the whistle; the big German turning Glen Rea’s shot round the post.
Rovers began the second half sharply, doubling their lead ten minutes in. Unable to shake their markers for a previous corner Rovers’ big men formed an orderly queue outside the area to attack Conor Grant’s next delivery, and second in line was Aaron Taylor-Sinclair arriving perfectly to crash in a volley off the underside of the bar.
Southend had by now abandoned all pretence of known defending and comically gifted Rovers another goal. Daniel Bentley dithered over a backpass long enough for Tyson to dispossess him and square for Williams who was bundled over by a Southend defender chalking up an early contender in the twin categories of lowest, and most futile, diving header of the year. Tyson fired home the penalty; 3-0 to Rovers.
Paul Keegan and Cedric Evina went close to a fourth, but with the game won Rovers sat back and allowed Southend to flounder about on the edge of the area taking turns to whack shots straight at Stuckmann until time ran out.
by Glen Wilson