Date: 3rd May 2015 at 7:25pm
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I read an article in a supposedly quality newspaper this week in which the man with the bling, the `Get Carter` accent and the surname which perfectly describes his own dodgy tan – ex-Hull City manager Phil Brown – was portrayed as the Messiah who is about to lead Southend United to the Promised Land of League One. THE SHRIMPERS HAVE WON EIGHT GAMES IN A ROW crowed the person who wrote this article. THEY ARE ALREADY IN THE AUTOMATIC PROMOTION POSITIONS he assured his legions of readers. All – yes, `all` – that stood in the way of promotion for Essex`s Mr Brown`s Boys was a victory at middle of the table Morecambe on the last day of the season.

Sadly, this analysis indicates a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of the Universe. The Earth revolves round the Sun. Gravity is a force which acts downwards not upwards. Water consists of Hydrogen and Oxygen. Morecambe never beat Accrington Stanley. And whenever the Shrimpers play the Shrimps in League Two, only one side ever wins – and that`s not the one managed by Phil Brown. And so it proved again on Saturday at the Globe Arena. Southend – who had already lost to Jim Bentley`s boys at Roots Hall in the reverse fixture earlier in the season – were beaten yet again.

Of far more interest to most Morecambe supporters, however, was the final performance of 39 year old Shrimps` stalwart Stewart Drummond. His Manager described him this week as probably the best footballer he has personally ever played with – and he should know. Personally, I think back to the Shrimps` second leg Conference Pay-Off Semi-Final against Dagenham and Redbridge at Christie Park twelve years ago, when Stewart was Captain of the team and Jim Bentley a relatively rookie Centre Half. Drummond was the outstanding player on view among ex-Internationals and League journeymen and it was no surprise that he departed for what were better things at the time virtually straight after the match. As Academy director, Stewart Drummond continues to have a part to play for the Shrimps and I doubt that anyone would be surprised if he manages the first team in the future if and when Jim Bentley moves on to new challenges himself. Good luck to them both.

But back to the match. Southend will now need Lady Luck to intervene if they are to escape from League Two this season. Morecambe went ahead on Saturday after less than four minutes when Jack Redshaw scored with a clever shot into the top corner of the net after good approach work by Aaron Wildig. The lead lasted barely three minutes before Jack Payne equalised for the visitors with a shot into the bottom corner from the centre of the penalty area. The game was thus level at half time but Wildig himself re-instated the Shrimps´ lead after just eight minutes of the second half with a shot which beat the Morecambe manager`s namesake low down to his left. The hosts went even further ahead after 68 minutes when Redshaw turned provider for Jamie Devitt to score in the same spot from the centre of the goal. Three minutes later, veteran Stewart Drummond was introduced to a rousing – and very well merited – reception for his last game for the club. It was not to be a fairy-tale ending for the midfielder in that he didn`t score. But for the visitors, the meeting was the usual nightmare as far as they are concerned. Bury won at already relegated Tranmere to pinch the Shrimpers` pre-match third position and the promotion that went with it. Now Southend have to battle it out with Stevenage in the Play-Offs to get to Wembley and the final: failure at the Globe means another potential three games and no guarantee of ultimate success. Morecambe end the campaign a very creditable eleventh with 63 points – three more than the Manager had targeted for this season. For a small club with weak finances and a tiny average gate, it is a tremendous achievement.
Ref: James Adcock