Another satisfying win
Hoping for some firm dry pitches soon
There was light drizzle before and during most of the game on a softish, muddy pitch that favoured the visitors’ potential. Southend had the advantage of the not-that-strong wind from the west in first half.
The home team's kick-off was followed by four kicks. All dealt with comfortably; the last an up-and-under from Barnes. Southend then ran down a touchline, seemingly unopposed, with wing Haile touching down wide out at 2 minutes. A good conversion from fullback Burr followed.
Two kicks followed the restart, the latter to touch resulting in a line-out for the visitors 17 metres from their line. From that they first kept the ball then three kicks followed, significantly to the visitors' advantage resulting in their line-out 27 metres from the opposition line. From that they went wide and soon dropped the ball. After the scrum Barnes kicked out on the full giving Southend a line-out at the previous distance. Next the visitors put together 8 phases before kicking ahead; 3 kicks followed giving the visitors another line-out at the same distance. From that their pack set up a drive and got to the 22 before releasing to centre then getting a penalty after recycling once. This was 25 metres out at centre field and Burr kicked the points at 12 minutes.
Three kicks followed the restart, the last to touch. Barnes took a quick line-out and quickly went wide. Outside centre Cornish made ground, the ball was recycled wide and fullback O'Toole made a good break. After 2 close recycles the defence was penalised 26 metres from their line in centre field and the fullback reduced the deficit to the original 7 points at 15 minutes.
Barnes cleared the long restart to touch to 14 metres inside their half then stole the line-out. They tried an up-and-under that the opposition dropped 8 metres into the other half. They were penalised in the scrum and Southend kicked for a line-out 16 metres into their opponents' half. Their line-out was again stolen; six kicks followed before a Barnes' scrum near halfway. They kicked ahead into the 22; Southend cleared to touch and Barnes took another quick line-out. They ran wide and recycled once close then lock Steele broke through and away. Barnes were penalised for not releasing 3 metres out.
The visitors cleared to touch to 28 metres out. From their line-out they first kept the ball close then kicked for territory. The ball was kicked back into the 22 then two more kicks followed. Next Southend kept ball in hand and recycled 3 times before chipping ahead well to touch deep into the other half and to 18 metres from Barnes' line. They stole the line-out and recycled 3 times before they were penalised at the 22. Barnes kicked to touch to 6 metres inside their half then threw the line-out not straight. Their pack advanced keeping the ball in to get a penalty that they kicked to touch 18 metres out. Then they were penalised after their line-out. Barnes kicked for another line-out 12 metres inside their half. This was stolen and Southend put together 10 phases before chipping through the line. Barnes kicked ahead long and the visitors cleared to touch to 20 metres inside their half. Barnes lost their line-out; Southend launched an up-and-under. Barnes ran the ball wide then recycled 3 times to get a penalty 30 metres out in centre field. O'Toole kicked the points at 31 minutes.
Barnes kicked back the restart; the visitors ran the ball before passing forward 4 metres inside their half. Under pressure at the scrum, Barnes got their ball and recycled close before being turned over. Southend recycled twice then launched an up-and-under. Barnes ran the ball then recycled 3 times before kicking high. The visitors dealt with this then ran away to the corner for their second try at 37 minutes scored by scrumhalf Daley and a 9 point lead. The conversion was wide.
Southend secured the restart and replied with an up-and-under. After it they were penalised for offside. Barnes kicked for a line-out at the opposition 22. An error after that was just before the halftime whistle. The visitors had looked in charge but had a lead of only 2 more points than their very early score.
Most of the second half would be played in Southend's territory, apart from an early attack by the visitors that Barnes thwarted. But it took more than half an hour to turn their field advantage into a lead.
At the start of the second half there were errors, turnovers and several kicks before the first scrum for Barnes 9 metres into the opposition half. From that they went blind then kicked to touch 13 metres out. From their line-out Southend cleared to 30 metres out. The next line-out resulted in a scrum for the visitors at the same place. After this was finally settled they kicked long and a mistake gave them another just 27 metres from Barnes line. They got a free-kick at that and ran the ball; they put together 7 good and varied phases until the defence forced an error to get a put-in 10 metres from their line. They got the ball away under pressure and kicked ahead towards touch. This got them not the opposition a line-out 9 metres from halfway. From that they tried an up-and-under then hacked on a loose ball, forcing Southend back to their own 22. The visitors kicked ahead and not to touch; O'Toole broke through and started a good passing sequence then after a couple of recycles Southend were penalised at their 22 near centre field and the fullback kicked the points at 16 minutes to reduce the deficit to 6 points.
Barnes dealt with restart and soon launched an up-and-under that wasn't dealt with by the opposition. The home side got the ball and recycled 5 times before their opponents forced an error to get a scrum at their own 10 metre line. At that they kept the ball in and moved ahead 5 metres to get a penalty. Their touch kick only gained them 10 metres. From the line-out they first went wide then reverted to tight or close phases. They recycled 8 times advancing only a few metres before the defence forced an error and Southend also lost a forward for 10 minutes. This was early in the final quarter.
The kick took Barnes to a line-out 14 metres into the other half. They recovered from poor tapped ball and recycled close 3 times before chipping ahead to the opposition line. They ran back the 22 drop-out, recycled 3 more times before kicking again into the 22 and to the line. From the second drop-out they put together 8 phases, mostly close, before being forced into touch 6 metres out. Southend kicked high to touch; Barnes took a quick line-out and ran the ball. After a couple of recycles they lost possession. Advantage was played, kicks were exchanged then the visitors kept the ball in hand for two phases. Barnes hacked a loose ball into the 22 before being penalised at a ruck 7 metres out. Southend kicked for a line-out 15 metres inside their half then kept the ball in. Their drive went down after a few metres and resulted in a put-in for the opposition. From the scrum, the fullback came into the line and made a half-break. The ball was moved through several hands putting together half a dozen phases and advancing to get a penalty 11 metres out. This was put into touch for a line-out 5 metres out and from the line-out the pack drove to the line and over with flanker Givens on the ball just after the half-hour. The conversion missed; the deficit was now 1 point.
Barnes secured the restart and recycled once tight then once blind and advanced. An offload made them ground then two close recycles were followed by one wider. They broke through after another recycle then put the ball through hands to set up two more recycles. Near centre-field the fullback called for the nearby fly-half to chip to the posts and the former came through to touch down at 33 minutes before adding the extras.
The high restart soon resulted in a penalty for Barnes 27 metres from their line. They kicked to touch just past halfway. From that they recycled close twice before kicking into the 22. Southend dealt with this and recycled 5 times, mostly close before the opposition hacked on a loose ball. Barnes got the ball and kicked over to the line. They kicked back the long 22 drop-out; the visitors kept the ball in hand errors then resulted in their line-out 11 metres inside their half. This was thrown not-straight. From the scrum Barnes attacked with 4 close phases until penalised for not releasing 20 metres out. Southend ran their penalty but managed only two phases before an error and the final whistle.