Date: 2nd March 2016 at 10:56am
Written by: Vital Crewe

Crewe Alexandra were only denied victory by an injury-time penalty from Jack Payne in a late 1-1 draw at Southend United.

George Cooper swept home an 86th minute free-kick as the visitors threatened a surprise away triumph, until being cruelly denied right at the death.

Alex keeper Ben Garratt had already saved a first-half spot-kick from Tyrone Barnett following Ollie Turton challenging David Mooney just before the break.

Marcus Haber earlier saw a close-range header from James Jones’ free-kick blocked by goalkeeper Daniel Bentley and Ben Nugent hoisted the rebound over.

That was after Cooper having an effort deflected beyond the target while on loan striker Tom Hitchcock was also too high on a couple of occasions.

The second period was equally short of clear opportunities with David Worrall missing with a free-kick for the hosts and Cooper’s reply from distance being diverted behind.

But the visitors were eventually ahead courtesy of Cooper curling in an excellent 25-yard free-kick with under five minutes of the contest remaining.

However, Nugent then bundled over substitute Jamar Loza in added time and Payne equalised from the spot.

Southend United: Bentley, Thompson, Bolger, Barrett, Coker, Atkinson (Payne 79), Deegan, Wordsworth, McQueen (Worrall 58), Mooney (Loza 58), Barnett

subs (unused): Timlin, Smith, Hunt, Kamara

Goals: Payne (pen 90)

Crewe Alexandra: Garratt, Turton, Guthrie, Nugent, Bakayogo, Cooper (Ng 88), Fox (Ainley 81), Jones, Inman, Haber, Hitchcock (Saunders 75)

subs (unused): Ray, Richards, Kirk, Howell

Goals: Cooper (86)

Ref: D. Whitestone

Att: 5,444