The Yellows started brightly, with United's wing wizard, Potter, skipping past the Southend full-back on numerous occasions, but sadly there was no end product. However,
's spell of
pressure was starting to wane, and after the first 15 minutes Southend started
to get a hold on the match. Their physical presence seemed to cause Oxford a few problems at
times, particularly from set pieces. Oxford
The turning point came just before the half-hour mark, as Michael Timlin was sent off for the Shrimpers for a seemingly innocuous challenge on JFC to earn his second yellow card, and an early bath. From that point on the U's were in control and could have taken the lead when Smalley almost bundled in after Chapman fired in a free kick from the edge of the box. Smalley had the chance to open his scoring record for the season, but could only narrowly fire wide when the ball fell to his feet in the box. The last chance of the half fell to Rigg whose fine header was expertly saved by visiting keeper Cameron Belford.
At half time Wilder changed things up, sacrificing the defensive-minded Cox for more attacking threat in the form of Tom Craddock. The change quickly paid off when the mesmerising Potter yet again beat his full-back, before whipping in a low cross, which was met perfectly by Craddock to net his first of the season.
United dominated the play with a staggering 68% of possession, with Forster-Caskey showing a maturity when on the ball and Alfie finding lots of space and making dazzling runs. The game opened up as Southend pushed more and more men forward, the resulting pockets of space being thoroughly exploited by the U's impressive forwards. Time and time again Potter weaved his way through the Southend defence, leaving vanquished defenders in his wake.