Southend 3-3 Portsmouth: Simon Cox fires hat-trick to complete stunning Shrimpers comeback
By Ben Grounds
Last Updated: 16/02/19 3:06pm
Southend showed their battling qualities as a hat-trick from Simon Cox completed a stunning comeback for a 3-3 draw with promotion-chasing Portsmouth at Roots Hall.
The Shrimpers trailed 3-0 inside 31 minutes through goals from Bryn Morris (8), Ben Close (20) and Oliver Hawkins (31) for Pompey. But Cox began the revival when he headed in from Samuel Hart's cross nine minutes before the break.
The striker then converted a penalty after Michael Kightly was fouled inside the box by Morris (78), and he fired in his 15th goal of the season with three minutes remaining to complete the comeback.
The result moved Chris Powell's side up to 13th ahead of the remaining League One fixtures on Saturday, while Portsmouth are back above Sunderland into third, although they missed the chance to go level on points with second-placed Barnsley.
Kenny Jackett must be wondering how this contest slipped away from his side, with Pompey good value for their 3-0 lead.
Jamal Lowe combined with Omar Bogle down the right for the opener, as Southend stopper Nathan Bishop could only parry the cross into the path of Morris to lash in his first goal for the visitors.
Southend were still re-organising themselves when Close fired in a second as Michael Turner's attempts to clear from Bogle's threaded pass seeking Hawkins fell kindly for the midfielder.
Eleven minutes later, it looked like the division's best away performers would be celebrating another victory on the road when Hawkins tapped in the rebound after Morris' shot deflected back into play off Bishop's right-hand post.
But Southend dug deep and reduced the deficit when Cox headed past Craig MacGillivray from Hart's deep cross.
Portsmouth's attacking threat faded in the second period, but it was not until Morris' inexplicable challenge on Kightly with 12 minutes remaining that the hosts further regained a foothold, allowing Cox to score his second from the spot.
Powell's men then restored parity when Timothee Dieng showed brilliant awareness to find Cox free on the edge of the box, and his curled shot left MacGillivray with no chance to complete an unlikely turnaround.