Cristiano Ronaldo News

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Report: Southend 1 United 0

United crashed out of the Carling Cup against Championship strugglers Southend United after a frustrating evening at Roots Hall.

Freddy Eastwood's superb free-kick was enough for the Shrimpers, who were indebted to an outstanding performance from goalkeeper Darryl Flavahan.

The hosts were good value for their win despite forging few scoring opportunities, having defended heroically throughout the 90 minutes.

Mindful of the hard work his inexperienced side had made of negotiating Crewe Alexandra in the third round, Sir Alex Ferguson named a stronger side for the trip to Roots Hall.

In came, most notably, Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo as Sir Alex showed his desire to make a successful defence of the trophy procured against Wigan Athletic last February.

For all their reinforcements, however, it was again the underdogs who started the tie in finer fettle and captain Wes Brown had to be alert to block Eastwood's fourth-minute shot.

United gradually grew into the game and Rooney was only fractionally away from reaching Gabriel Heinze's fine deep cross after 10 minutes.

The England striker showed a flash of magic eight minutes later to out manouevre Spencer Prior with a clever flick, but he scuffed his shot straight to Flahavan.

The hosts continued to give as good as they got, and it was far from against the run of play when Eastwood fired them ahead after 26 minutes.

His 30-yard free kick flew brilliantly into the top corner of Tomasz Kuszczak's goal to delight the home crowd, who had seen their side go 12 games without a win hitherto.

United almost drew level within a minute as David Jones saw his snapshot cannon off the inside of the post and away to safety. In the end, that would prove the closest scare for the hosts.

With a lead against their more illustrious opponents, Southend became content to sit back and counter attack wherever possible, and Kuszczak did well to thwart Eastwood again by pipping the striker to a long through-ball.

United began to apply more and more pressure in the latter stages of the half, with Flahavan called upon to keep out Ronaldo's long-range drive, while Richardson fired wastefully wide.

Southend held out until the interval with their lead intact, and the pressure they had endured in the latter stages of the first 45 minutes was merely a taster for what was to come after the break.

The second period became little more than a case of Flahavan denying United's every meaningful attempt, with the outstanding Ronaldo left particularly frustrated.

He saw one volley trickle wide before the Shrimpers keeper pulled out two fine saves to prevent an equaliser, in particular from a scorching 25-yard free kick.

Just after the hour mark he reacted equally well to claw John O'Shea's mishit cross from underneath the crossbar, before holding onto Darren Fletcher's long-range effort.

Heinze fired just wide from 20 yards before both Eastwood and Efe Sodje wasted decent openings to add further gloss to the glory of the scoreline.

Ryan Shawcross and Kieran Lee entered the fray from the sidelines as Sir Alex aimed to freshen up his toiling side.

Despite a couple of late scrambles the Shrimpers held firm to register a famous, deserved win against an off-colour United side.

Southend United: Flahavan, Clarke, Prior, Hunt (Francis, 14), Sodje, Hammell, Hooper (Lawson, 67), Campbell-Ryce, Gower, Maher, Eastwood.
Subs not used: Moussa, Wilson, Cole.

United: Kuszczak, O'Shea (Lee, 74), Brown, Silvestre, Heinze, Richardson, D Jones (Shawcross, 90), Fletcher, Ronaldo, Rooney, Smith (Evra, 60).
Subs not used: Heaton, Rose.


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