The Report: Southend 2 Burton 2
Ahh balls, that's about as strong as my language can be on a family website.
For a second time in a few years we've seen our play off dreams shattered with a second leg draw seeing us just edged out in the semi finals. It started badly, but then looked so good for Southend before Burton broke our hearts to draw two-two at Roots Hall and win three-two on aggregate.
We started with a high temp on a glorious afternoon at Roots Hall, knowing that we could do with an early goal really and we almost got it but Burton goalkeeper Dean Lyness tipped over Kevan Hurst's effort from range.
It might have been going over but he was taking no chances.
An open start to the game saw Burton threaten from some set pieces and it was the delivery of Chris Hussey's inswinging freekick that found Marcus Holness unmarked and he powered a header past a helpless Daniel Bentley.
Burton's goal came from a cheaply conceded freekick.
That gave Burton a two-nil aggregate lead, we needed to be a little concerned but it was too early to panic too much and an inspired Ryan Leonard strike drew us level less than ten minutes later.
Burton thoughts they'd cleared the danger but Ben Coker put the ball back in with Leonard bringing the ball down brilliantly before acrobatically turning the ball past Lyness to draw us level.
Level at half time wouldn't have been bad but we went one better as we made the most of David Gray dawdling in midfield to snatch the ball off him, Michael Timlin's swung in cross left the Burton defence and goalkeeper in two minds but not Anthony Straker who gambled to head us two-one up.
Leonard looked to score again in the second half but Lyness saved that one.
Bringing on Billy Kee made a big difference for Burton with the striker causing us problems and he almost brought them level with his deflected effort well saved by Bentley.
We didn't learn, once again we gave away a cheap freekick but Hurst had been fouled before this but the referee didn't away it and his foul was a needless one.
From this, another Hussey delivery, eventually found its way to Adam McGurk in the box and he beat Bentley to level the scores but put Burton ahead on aggregate three-two.
It wasn't to be, we knew it wouldn't be, when Leonard went within a whisker of drawing us level late on.
Bentley acted as an extra attacker from four minutes from time with the goalkeeper often going up for throw ins, corners or freekicks.
Another goal to take us to extra time couldn't be found with Burton going to Wembley.
It'll be a hard job for Phil Brown to lift the troops, but he'll be doing this over the summer as we look to go one better next season. The problem is the likes of Bentley and Leonard, to name but two, will be very difficult for us to retain as a League 2 side.
We'll worry about that over the summer, first of all we have to get over this heartbreak.
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