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Nationwide Division 3, 20/2/99, from Roots Hall, Southend:

Southend United 3

Brighton & Hove Albion 0

Brighton were stunned by a Blues blitz at Roots Hall on Saturday as Southend brushed aside the ailing Seagulls.

The Southend side were in rampant and ruthless mood, and Brighton were made to look ordinary as the Shrimpers created chance after chance. Indeed, the Sussex side were lucky to get away with 3-0, it could certainly have been a lot more. Two goals from Barry Hunter and a second half Kevin Rapley strike meant that is was the struggling Shrimpers who were victorious in this seaside derby.

The 3,000 Albion supporters, who had expected their playoff hopefuls to claim an easy three points, were silenced in the 18th minute. Scott Houghtons corner found Barry Hunter unmarked to glance the ball past Mark Walton for the first goal. Just six minutes later, another corner from Houghton, this time from the right, presented Hunter with another free header, which he duly looped over the stranded custodian.

The Southend fans could hardly believe it after a woeful run of form in 1999. Consolidation was the key in the second half, and the Blues found it, creating plenty of openings, without looking like conceding. The points were wrapped up for the Blues in the 66th minute. A careless backpass by a Brighton man fell nicely for Kevin Rapley 20 yards out. He took aim and rifled the ball low inside the left upright for his best and last goal for Southend.

Brighton rarely threatened the Southend goal, but they did come close to pulling a goal back when Gary Hart hit the bar from point blank range. However, the day belonged to Southend, who could have won by more, and if they play like this every game until the end of the season, maybe Alvin Martins playoff prediction will be realised.