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Tuesday, 11 February, 2003, 23:19 GMT
Southend 2-2 Bristol Rovers

Kevin Maher's goal for Southend earned his side a point against relegation-battling Bristol Rovers.

The Shrimpers dominated the first half and went into the break a goal in front thanks to Barrington Belgrave's low drive from 10 yards in the 36th minute.

Before that the visitors had struggled to get out of their own half and were indebted to the brilliance of goalkeeper Scott Howie.

He pulled off a succession of impressive saves, including a diving effort to keep out Jay Smith's 30th-minute penalty.

But it was a different story after the break as Rovers stunned their opponents with two goals in a five-minute spell.

Adam Barrett headed them level in the 51st minute following a Wayne Carlisle cross, and it was quickly followed by Kevin Street lashing in from the edge of the box.

Southend came under increasing pressure as Rovers threatened to increase their lead, but they were rescued by Kevin Maher 14 minutes from time.

His fierce drive from the edge of the box left Howie helpless.


Southend: Flahavan, Sutch, Cort, Kelly, Searle, Marney, Maher, Smith, Clark, Belgrave, Rawle. Subs: Gay, Beard, Salter, Jordan, Thurgood.

Bristol Rovers: Howie, Rose, Austin, Barrett, Anderson, Carlisle, Quinn, Hyde, Street, Tait, Grazioli. Subs: Clarke, McKeever, Hogg, Gilroy, Parker.

Referee: D Crick (Surrey)

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BBC Essex's Stuart Smith
"It looks like goodbye to any play-off chances"
Southend United manager Rob Newman
"I'm disappointed we've not won the game"

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