Three games in a week and three 2-0 defeats have not improved the mood around the Pirelli Stadium as Southend United brought a bad week to a miserable end for Paul Peschisolido and his men. Two second half goals from winger David Martin and experienced striker Neil Harris condemned Albion to an eleventh game without a win since their last three point haul on Boxing Day. It could have been of so different if Adi Yussuf had scored in the opening minutes when clean through and also if Aaron Webster's quickly taken free kick had gone in before half time but such is Albion's luck at the minute that neither found the back of the net.
Yussuf was handed a full debut for the Brewers as injuries dug deep into Albion's squad. The Tanzanian striker was paired with Justin Richards as Albion reverted to a 4-4-2. With skipper John McGrath sidelined with an ankle injury, Jack Dyer and Adam Bolder formed the central partnership with Jimmy Phillips and Cleveland Taylor occupying the wide roles. There was also a welcome return to the team for Aaron Webster who had missed the last four games through injury. Youth team striker Evan Garnett earned a call up to the substitutes bench, the second time he had appeared on the bench this season.
The young striker had an early chance to cover himself in glory when Jimmy Phillips charged down a clearance and the former Leicester youngster had a clear run through on goal but a heavy touch allowed Cameron Belford, on his debut on loan from Bury, to come off his line and safely smother the ball.
A free flowing start to the game continued with Southend perhaps edging the possession but without seriously troubling Ross Atkins in the Burton goal. Half hearted shouts for a penalty went up from the visitors when Jack Sampson was beaten top the ball by Aaron Webster in the opening exchanges.
Albion began to press themselves forwards and two corners in quick succession on twenty minutes had the Southend defence at full stretch but the Brewers were unable to turn their pressure into a goal.
Anthony Grant, a former Chelsea youngster, was the firts name to go in referee Mick Russell's notebook as he felled Jimmy Phillips on the half way as the winger looked to lead a Brewers break on 27 minutes.
Southend caused a moment of danger on the half hour as Nathan Stanton was harshly adjudged to have fouled Neil Harris near the touchline and David Martin's free kick was eventually cleared by a combination of Adam Bolder, Ross Atkins and Stanton. From the corner a sharp headed chance fell to Harris but he was unable to keep the ball down as it flew over the crossbar.
The veteran striker was closer moments later as another Martin centre was floated in and the former Millwall hitman's placed header had to be clawed away from goal by Atkins. Albion quickly launched an attack on the counter and as Yussuf played in Cleveland Taylor the winger jinked past his man but could only driuve the ball into the waiting arms of Belford.
Belford was almost caught out in the 39th minute as a quickly taken free kick by Aaron Webster had the loan keeper scrambling and just about managing to clear his lines as the experienced Albion man continued his search for that elusive 100th goal in Burton colours.
Jimmy Phillips had a chance to go for goal a minute later as Albion pressed forward but afetr picking up a loose ball from Yussuf his shot rippled the side netting. A scare followed at the other end as Michael Timlin was inches away from opening the scoring drilling a low effort wide of the post after some hesitant defending gave Southend a good sight of goal.
Phillips and Yussuf both had chances come their way quickly again but neither could get the better of Belford who was enjoying a good first half in a Southend shirt. Webster also raided forward again on 44 minutes but his long range effort was also safely claimed by the goalkeeper as the half came to a close somehow still goalless.
Half time: Burton Albion 0-0 Southend United
Ryan Austin was thrown into the action at the start of the second half as Nathan Stanton failed to reappear after the break due to a groin injury picked up towards the end of the first half. The popular Brewers defender was immediately in the action as the visitors burst forward at the start of the half with some crisp passing in and around the box stretching the Albion rearguard.
As in the first half there were shouts for a penalty, this time for the Brewers as Justin Richards was sent tumbling inside the area but again referee Russell was not interested in awarding a spot kick. Southend immediately broke forward after a loose pass from Yussuf and Albion's goal survived due to some stout defending as the visitors searched for the breakthrough.
Southend's defender Mark Phillips was booked for a foul on Burton namesake Jimmy but Albion could not capitalise on the free kick as Yussuf strayed offside. Lee Sawyer stung the palms of Atkins with a snapshoit and Harris was close as well before the Shrimpers finally scored the opening goal of the game on the hour mark. Jack Dyer was penalised for pulling back Grant and former Derby winger David MARTIN stepped up to fire home a quickly taken free kick from 25 yards,
Albion tried to hit back but the best they had to show was a wasteful Yussuf shot that flew high and wide. It was fifteen minutes from time when the visitors doubled their lead as Albion's defence went AWOL. Ryan Austin's headed clearance fell to Anthony Grant who drilled a shot goalwards that Ross Atkins got down well to save. Unfortunately the ball came straight out to HARRIS who instinctively fired back past the unprotected keeper to pretty much put the game beyond Albion.
After that it was a matter of closing out the game and Southend did that with efficiency as Albion failed to muster a grandstand comeback but after ten games without a win confidence is low and it was a day when nothing went for the Brewers.
ALBION: Atkins; Corbett, Stanton, James, Webster; Taylor, Bolder, Dyer, Taylor; Richards, Yussuf. Susbtitutes: Driver, Palmer, Austin, Gurrieri, Garnett.
SOUTHEND: Belford, Clohessy, Grant, Timlin, Harris, Sawyer, Martin, Phillips, Barker, Sampson, Hills. Substitutes: Prosser, BEntley, Benyon, Baldwin, Flood.
Referee: Mr. M.Russell (Hertfordshire)
GOALS: Southend - Martin (60)