Southend United’s pre-season tour of Madrid – Part 2

Rayo Vallecano, Sunday July 29th 2012

Kick off:7.15pm

Rayo Vallecano B 1 (Ruben 10)

Southend United 1 (Eastwood 17)

Another superb training facility in the middle of nowhere, Blues turned up with problems from the start. The coach was having hydraulic problems which meant for a while it looked like the kit could not be reached from the hold. That problem resolved it looked for a while that the game wouldn’t take place as the grass pitch that we were supposed to be using had no markings at all. Pitch 3, a dry looking Astroturf pitch, was offered as an alternative but Sturrock and the boys didn’t look keen on the idea. Finally pitch 4 was agreed, a modern 3G pitch with a small bleacher style seated stand which housed the Southend contingent and the locals. The crowd numbered 167 including the ubiquitous local with a megaphone who sang for the entire 90 minutes although strangely he was wearing a Cadiz scarf.

The row over the pitch delayed the kick off to 7.15pm but it was still 33 degrees when the game started, Blues reverting to 4-4-2. Blues had the opening chance with Prosser heading wide when a goal looked certain. Rayo came into the game with a spell of pressure, Smith flapped at a cross conceding a needless corner and then again showed a vampirical fear of crosses when the corner came over. Rayo pressured again and took the lead 10 minutes in when Ruben found the corner from 20 yards out with a powerful strike. Seven minutes later Blues were level, Hall took a free kick on the left flank Benyon headed goalwards and Bielsa could only parry the ball to his right side and Eastwood gratefully volleyed home from close range. A strange incident occurred in the 22 minute, Owusu thought he had been fouled and grabbed the ball, the ref awarded a free kick for handball. Owusu went down to the ground indicating he was injured and then walked off the pitch and out of the ground to take no further part in the match. David Martin had a good opportunity to put Southend 2-1 up but headed over when unmarked. The referee failed to spot a blatant foul on Coughlan which lead to vehement appeals for a penalty. The first half ended at 1-1 with the pick of the players being Elliot Benyon who toiled manfully upfront with Freddy playing just off him.

Only change at half time was Bentley on for Smith. The young keeper was called into action early on saving smartly from Suso and then Nanclares. Just after the hour Sturrock called on four of his subs, putting Cresswell up front with Tomlin. Five minutes later Mark Phillips came only to be booked within a minute for a deliberate handball when attacking a corner. Cresswell battled well upfront and had a couple of decent chances, he was booked however when his foot went high on a Rayo defender. Southend finished in the ascendancy and should have won the match, the lively Tomlin had a great chance on 83 minutes but headed straight at the keeper.

At the conclusion of the match the players asked for the fans to come onto the pitch for a tour photograph which was a nice touch. Megaphone man had the last laugh, however, gatecrashing the club photo. Fair play to him.


1.Bielsa (sub:13.Carlos 46) 2.Owusu (sub:12.Pepe 23) 3.Nacho 4.Gabri 5.Suso 6.Thiobane (sub:14.Mario 57) 7.Manquillo (sub:15.Nanclares 46) 8.Juanito (sub:16.Diego 46) 9.Nesa (sub:17.Valdivia 46) 10.Chevi © (sub:18.Alberto Oca 46) 11.Ruben (sub:19.Ranera 46)

Booking: Owusu (handball)


1.Smith (sub:13.Bentley 46) 2.Clohessy (sub:15.Straker 65) 3.Prosser 4.Leonard (sub:17.Ferdinand 65) 5.Coughlan (sub:12.Phillips 68)  6.Barker © 7.Hall 8.Brogan  (sub:16.Hurst 75) 9.Benyon (sub:14.Cresswell 65) 10.Eastwood (sub:18.Tomlin 65) 11.Martin

Unused sub:19.Harris

Bookings: Leonard (foul), Phillips (handball), Cresswell (foul)

Southend United’s pre-season tour to Madrid – Part 1

Ciudad del Real Madrid, Saturday July 28th 2012. Kick off: 10.00am

Real Madrid C 3

(Ramirez 43, Mariano pen 53, Burgui 76)                                               

Southend United 1

(Harris 3)

If there ever was an antithesis to their all powerful commercial juggernaut of their Santiago Bernabeu stadium (Real Madrid crisps anyone?) it has to be their quiet, secluded, and heavily guarded training camp, Ciudad del Real Madrid sited at Valdedebas in Northern Madrid quite literally in the middle of nowhere. Here they plot world domination with ten pitches all with spectator seating and floodlights. The B team, Castilla, has its own stadium (Estadio Alfredo di Stefano) on the complex which has 6,000 seats and a capacity of 20,000 (Only 350 people watched their friendly with Getafe B later on in the day).

A five Euro match ticket purchased (Real C v Southern United!) at the gatehouse allowed us to walk to pitch 7 where our game would take place, surveyed at all times by uniformed guards. I counted 55 Southend fans from a crowd of 101 at the start of the game. Blues started very well, playing 4-3-3, and opened the scoring after just 3 minutes when Gavin Tomlin found space down the right and crossed perfectly for Neil Harris to head home, Harris having stolen in unnoticed by Dani Suarez. Trialist goalkeeper Phil Smith flapped alarmingly at a corner six minutes later and Suarez, unmarked, should have done better with his header. Brogan and Cresswell also had headers that were just wide of the mark. Tempers flared momentarily in the heat of morning when Harris reacted angrily to a heavy challenge from Alvaro Lopez. Mr Martin turned up half way through the first half airport bag in hand having missed his original flight. Two minutes before half time the home side levelled when the referee gave a soft free kick from a non-existent foul from Phillips. Ramirez rocketed the free kick into Smith’s left hand corner, either the wall was incorrectly placed or it parted allowing the effort to go in. H/T 1-1

Blues were unchanged at half-time while the hosts made eight changes which seemed to benefit them as they took control of the game in the searing heat. Just seven minutes into the half Mariano evaded a Blues challenge and rounded Smith very easily, about to score Smith hooked his leg away and conceded the penalty. Mariano dispatched the spot kick easily with Smith going the wrong way. The same player then saw a header saved superbly by Smith. 68 minutes into the game Sturrock made 7 changes while Real subbed their remaining three players (two first half players returned to the fray). Blues went 3-1 down though when Burgui was put through and easily rounded Smith to score. Southend then looked like getting back into the game, Leonard took a quick free kick and Eastwood netted only for the referee to pull the game back as he wasn’t happy with the free kick. Moments later Llorente blatantly fouled Prosser in the penalty area but the ref waved away appeals for a spot kick. The final chance of the game fell to Ryan Hall who blazed narrowly wide on 88 minutes. There was a small report on the game in the national daily sports paper AS.


1.Ruben (sub:13.Jacob 46) 2. Carmona (sub:12.Joel 46) 3.Angel  (sub: 16.Nobeljas 46) 4.Marc Vales (sub: Burgui 46) 5.Dani Suarez (sub:15.  Llorente 46) 6. Alvaro Lopez © (sub:14. Molero 46) 7.Bruno (sub:6. Alvaro Lopez 68) 8.Muguel Herranz (sub:17.Kamal 46) 9.Aguza (sub: 10.Ramirez 68) 10.Ramirez (sub: 20.Mariano 46) 11.Belima (sub 19 Barril 68)


1.Smith 2.Clohessy (sub:17.Martin 68) 3.Straker (sub:15.Prosser 68)  4.Ferdinand 5.Cresswell (sub:12.Coughlan 68) 6.Phillips (sub:14.Barker 68) 7.Hurst (sub:19. Benyon 68) 8.Leonard 9.Harris © 10.Tomlin (sub: 18.Eastwood 68) 11.Brogan (sub:16.Hall 68)

Sub not used:13.Bentley 

Some of the Blues contingent took up the option to see Atletico Madrid take on Alianza Lima at the superb riverside Vicente Calderon stadium with a 9pm kick off. A crowd of 15,000 watched the home side win 3-0 and greatly admired the passionate support of the 3,000 Peruvians, crazy people!