SHRIMPERS SURVIVE AS HUMPHRYS BAGS LATE WINNER
Substitute Stephen Humphrys scored a dramatic late winner against Sunderland to keep Southend in League One.
Humphrys, brought on in the 78th minute and wearing a mask to protect his injured face, slotted the ball through the legs of Sunderland keeper Jon McLaughlin with just four minutes left.
Chris Maguire's second-half penalty for the visitors looked to have relegated Southend to League Two with Plymouth beating Scunthorpe 3-2 at Home Park.
But Humphrys, who broke his nose, cheekbone and eye socket and suffered concussion after colliding with Accrington goalkeeper Jonny Maxted in February, was on hand when the ball broke free in the Sunderland box.
The Black Cats drop to fifth and will now play Portsmouth in the play-offs.
John White had given Southend the lead with an acrobatic overhead kick in the first half, but he then shoved Charlie Wyke in the box with 15 minutes left and Maguire converted from the spot.
Dru Yearwood had two early chances for Southend, his shot saved by the legs of McLaughlin and then slicing wide from 12 yards.
Maguire could also have opened the scoring for the visitors, hitting the side netting after a lovely ball by Lynden Gooch and then shooting straight at Mark Oxley in the Southend goal.
Sunderland thought they had a case for an earlier penalty when Wyke looked to be pulled back in the area but play was waved on.
The masked hero had a few words to say after the game:
"That was for everyone in Southend,” said Humphrys.
“It’s not my goal, it’s everyone’s goal.
“It’s the manager, the players, the chef, the cleaners, the fans.
“It’s Southend United’s winning goal and we deserve it because we’ve all worked tirelessly every week.”
Match highlights can be found here: