Preview: Southend United vs Exeter City

City extended their winning run to three matches in all competitions on Tuesday, despite Matt Taylor changing all 11 players in the impressive 4-3 win at Swindon in the EFL Trophy, so it’s in buoyant mood that his side heads across the country to play one of the “crisis clubs” of the division on Saturday. Taylor had the luxury of naming an unchanged side against Cambridge then giving his entire first team the night off on Tuesday so expect him to revert back to that side, although a number of players will have given him food for thought on Tuesday. Ryan Bowman appeared to be nursing a wrist injury against Cambridge which perhaps contributed to a below par performance, and his inability to find the net so far has led to growing concern amongst the supporters if not the manager himself, who was effusive in his praise of the striker after Cambridge.

Having been relegated from League One last season, only kept off the bottom thanks to Bolton’s points deduction and a million miles from safety, plus continuing to endure off-field financial issues that have seen them owing a large amount of money to HMRC, it’s not hard to see why most pundits had Southend amongst their tips to “do a Chesterfield” and drop straight through the division into non-league. There’s a familiar face in the dugout, with former City player Mark Molesley poached from Weymouth, but given a run of one draw in seven fixtures across all competitions so far, it’s entirely possible his move from one seaside town to another may be a short one. Given the club’s well-documented off-field issues, it was perhaps a surprise to see the Shrimpers reportedly pay a fee for a player during the week when signing Ashley Nathaniel-George from Crawley, while the signing of Alan McCormack will have added much needed bite in midfield to what is otherwise quite a young side – although he hasn’t featured now since September 19th when he was subbed off on his debut.

The answer to the question of who City have played the most in competitive fixtures is Southend – with 118 league fixtures between the sides. The last time City and Southend locked horns was in the Shrimpers’ promotion season of 2014/15 – the corresponding fixture finished 1-1, Graham Cummins equalising late on for City after David Worrall had given the hosts the lead. A 1-0 win for the visitors at the Park through a 90th minute Michael Timlin strike pretty much confirmed Southend’s promotion. Of those 118 matches, City have won 40, Southend 43 and there have been 35 draws. Details of the last 20 can be found at

The match officials for the game are:

Referee: Kevin Johnson
Assistant Referees: Gareth Viccars and Alasdair Ross
Fourth Official : Gregory Read

Kevin Johnson has taken charge of 13 Exeter games, details at

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