Stylish Shrimpers stuff QPR
By Alex Dunn
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Southend United stuffed QPR 5-0 in a relegation dogfight at Roots Hall.
Southend's bid to retain their Championship status was handed a major shot in the arm on Friday night, as they put Queens Park Rangers to the sword in a 5-0 Roots Hall success.
Steve Tilson's strugglers now move to within a point of safety after an impressive performance against a QPR side which has now lost eight consecutive away games.
Despite their superiority Southend will nevertheless be eternally grateful to QPR goalkeeper Simon Royce after he gifted Lee Bradbury the game's opener in the eighth minute, before Mark Gower, Efe Sodje and Kevin Maher with a superb double secured the spoils in the second half.
Southend had already gone close twice through Freddy Eastwood's angled drive and Lewis Hunt's free header when Royce's comically scuffed clearance from a back pass rebounded off Bradbury's shin and trickled agonisingly over the line.
Lomas nearly put past his own goalkeeper in trying to defend a Southend free-kick but was saved by an atoning Royce before QPR will feel they were denied a potential turning point, when Lee Cook was dumped in the box by Peter Clarke but their appeals for a penalty were spurned.
Cook went close early in the second half to grabbing a leveller and Gareth Ainsworth was also denied, but thereafter and it was all about a rampant Southend.
In the 70th minute Maher's quick free-kick exposed some terrible QPR defending and after bringing the ball down with a fine first touch, Gower lashed his finish past Royce.
Just eight minutes later and the game was put to bed when Sodje powered a far post header home from a Southend corner - leaving Maher to dictate the final stages with real aplomb.
Southend's captain grabbed his first with a beautifully precise effort from outside the area, before in injury time he capped a fantastic night for Tilson's side with an inch-perfect free-kick which gave Royce not a prayer.