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Nationwide Division 3, 6/3/99, from Roots Hall, Southend:

Southend United 2

Swansea City 0

Southend United cruised to three points against a disappointing Swansea side, who were lucky to escape severe embarrassment.

Goals from home debutant Neville Roach and Barry Conlon meant that Southend were celebrating a second Roots Hall victory in a row, but the margin could have been more emphatic as golden chances were spurned by Southend yet again.

Indeed, the victory was not secure until the dying moments when Barry Conlon struck. Swansea were often dangerous on the break, and Melvin Capleton had to be on stunning form to deny the Welsh side at least twice.

The Shrimpers opened the scoring after 16 minutes when Neville Roach made space for himself inside the box before twisting and slotting the ball home. The score could have been increased later in the first half, when Lars Unger's knock down was headed wide by Barry Conlon. Aside from this unfortunate miss, Conlon was magnificent and deservedly won the Man of the Match award. He was a constant threat to the defence, and always looked to bring others into play.

There was little else in the first half to warm the Blues fans, a Rob Newman header which sailed wide being the most memorable chance, but Melvin Capleton was forced into a marvellous save when the Swansea number 2 hit a powerful angled drive which the deputising Capleton did well to tip round the post.

In the second half, the game opened up with Swansea vying for an equaliser and the Blues looking to extend their lead. After a couple of dubious yellow cards for Coleman and Hunter, Ritchie Appleby hurled himself viciously at Martyn Booty near the touchline. A reckless challenge, granted, but maybe the referee was harsh in sending the player off. Midway through the half, the impressive Roach sent a low cross into the box which Scott Houghton met, but the ball flew inches the wrong side of the post. Southend then started to dominate the game, flying forward at every opportunity, with full backs Beard and Booty particularly gallant. Late on, Swansea almost nicked an equaliser, Blues doing well to clear a goalbound effort from a corner.

However Southend were not to be denied, and Barry Conlon, egged on by a partizan audience, successfully robbed a Swansea defender 25 yards out, and knocked the ball home. Hopefully that will be the cue for a few more goals from the young Irishman, who is looking sharper every week.

The final whistle signalled raptures of applause from the content Southend supporters. The clean sheet meant that it is now just one goal conceded from the last four home games. An enviable record indeed, but the away form needs to improve if this is not to be another one off result.