Steve Harris – @steveharris84
Match details: Torquay United vs Southend United
Venue: Plainmoor, Torquay
Date: Saturday 18th September 2021
Southend fact file:
Year founded: 1906
Nickname: The Shrimpers
Last season’s league finish: 23rd League Two
Division Three/Division Two/League One:
Division Four/Division Three/League Two:
Torquay: 28 Draw: 28 Southend: 39
Torquay: Armani Little (3) Southend: Rhys Murphy (3)
Current Form (last six):
Torquay: 20th – L, D, L, W, L, L Southend: 16th – W, L, D, D, L, L
Manager: Phil Brown
Phil Brown is arguably best remembered for his spell as Hull City manager, during which time he led the Tigers into the top-flight for the first time in their history in the 2007-08 season. Hull famously clinched their place in the Premier League by winning the Championship Play-off final when they defeated a Bristol City side managed by Gary Johnson.
The Tigers then consolidated their place in the Premier League in the 2008-09 campaign; highlights of the season included a 2-1 win over Arsenal– which was the Gunners’ second ever defeat at the Emirates Stadium. In the 2009-10 season, he was placed on gardening leave in March 2010 before leaving the KC Stadium at the end of the campaign in which Hull were relegated.
A spell in charge of Preston North End followed for Brown between January and December 2011 before he took charge of Southend for the first time in March 2013.
In his first full season in charge of the Shrimpers, the 2013-14 campaign, Brown led them to the League Two Play-offs, where they were beaten in the semi-finals by Burton Albion.
The Shrimpers went one better in the 2014-15 season as they beat Wycombe Wanderers on penalties in the League Two Play-off final. He remained in charge of Southend until January 2018, when he was replaced on gardening leave.
A stint in charge of Swindon Town followed before a brief spell in India with Pune City/Hyderabad FC before he returned to Roots Hall in April 2021, but he was unable to keep the Shrimpers in the Football League.
Player to watch: Rhys Murphy
Date of Birth: 6th November 1990 – 30 years-old
Former Clubs: Arsenal, Brentford, Preston, Telstar, Dagenham and Redbridge, Oldham, Crawley, AFC Wimbledon, Forest Green, York City, Crawley, Torquay, Gillingham, Chelmsford, Yeovil
International: Ireland U21 (7 caps, 2 goals)
National League Stats 21-22: Played 6, Goals 3, Yellow/Red Cards 1/0
After re-discovering his goal scoring touch with Chelmsford City in the National League South, former United loanee Rhys Murphy has proved himself to be a proven goal scorer with Yeovil Town and Southend, who he joined in the summer.
Murphy, who joined the Gulls on loan from Forest Green Rovers in the 2017-18 season, started his career with Arsenal and was loaned out to Brentford and Preston North End. He also represented England at youth level before switching his allegiance to the Republic of Ireland, who he appeared for at Under-21 level.
Following a stint in Holland playing for Telstar in the 2012-13 season, Murphy returned to England to sign for Dagenham and Redbridge. He then moved on to Oldham Athletic in 2015 when Lee Johnson, son of Gulls manager Gary, paid the Daggers undisclosed fee for his services.
Loan spells at AFC Wimbledon and Crawley Town then followed before he joined Forest Green Rovers and he was later loaned to York City, Crawley (again) and also spent an eight-match loan spell with the Gulls where he scored once in a 4-0 win over Maidenhead United.
Whilst with Yeovil Town, he found the back 20 times in all competitions in the 2019-20 season before the campaign’s Covid-19 enforced suspension.
His next port of call was Gillingham prior to signing for Chelmsford, where his 28 goals in National League South alerted the Glovers to his potential.
Southend: Rhys Murphy
Last meeting: Southend United 1-0 Torquay United – 29 March 2014
GOALS: SUFC – Eastwood (72)
Southend (4-3-3): Bentley, White, Sokolik, Egan, Coker, Timlin, Leonard, Atkinson; Hurst, Barnard, Loza
Torquay (4-4-2): Rice; O’Connor, Pearce, Downes, Nicholson; Bodin, Mansell, Harding, Cameron (Chappell); Hawley (Yeoman), Stockley (Coulthirst)
Substitute Freddy Eastwood’s first goal since October gave Southend a vital win against bottom club Torquay.
Southend dominated for large parts and should have gone in front but centre-back Jakub Sokolik missed an open goal from six yards out. John White’s header hit the crossbar before Eastwood’s close-range finish secured the points. Southend jump back into the League Two play-off places while Torquay remain four points adrift at the bottom.
Torquay United (4-4-2):
Ben Wynter – Joe Lewis – Ali Omar – Dean Moxey
Chiori Johnson – Connor Lemonheigh-Evans – Asa Hall – Keelan O’Connell
Klaidi Lolos – Danny Wright
Southend United (3-5-2):
Josh Coulson – Shaun Hobson – Nathan Ralph
Jason Demetriou – Terrell Egbri – James Dunne – Will Atkinson – Jack Bridge
Rhys Murphy – Sam Dalby
TT pre-match talking points…
Will we see a serious change in personnel before the game to help stop the rot?
Will Halstead be dropped for Marcin after being substituted at half time against Solihull?
Can we finally get some points at home?