Football: Joachim brace lights up Leicester

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Leicester City. 4

Southend United. 1

JULIAN JOACHIM put the indignity of his sending-off on Saturday behind him at Filbert Street last night at the expense of Southend. The 18- year-old Leicester prodigy scored twice as Brian Little's side edged closer to a place in the First Division play-offs for the second year running.

It was the seventh successive home win for Leicester, who now need two points from three games to qualify for the secondary promotion contest. By contrast, Barry Fry's new team have it all to do if they are not to be leading him back to Barnet in the Second Division next season.

Joachim, dubiously dismissed at Swindon, took only two minutes to purge himself of any lingering frustration. Paul Sansome, the Southend keeper, parried a Richard Smith header from Steve Thompson's free- kick only for the diminutive striker to lash the loose ball high into the net from five yards.

Steve Walsh volleyed powerfully over Sansome's bar as Leicester sought to capitalise on Southend's early unease while another Thompson set-piece followed a similar trajectory. Kevin Poole's goal was not threatened until the 27th minute when Brett Angell netted but was marginally offside.

Southend hit a post in their next attack through Martin Hall's shot on the turn, and when Keith Jones advanced to fire a foot wide of Poole's opposite upright, the home support became restive.

The decibel count was increased by Joachim's swivel and shot which thudded into a defender's thigh, but Leicester clearly needed a second goal to subdue spirited opponents.

Joachim's persistence and elasticity nearly conjured a goal from nothing after 47 minutes when he snaked out a leg to dispossess Jones. His centre was perfect; not so Thompson's diving header, which flew wide.

But within eight minutes, the miss was forgotten as Leicester trebled their advantage. First, Sansome blocked Walsh's header and looked on aghast as Andy Edwards knocked the rebound into his own net. Almost immediately, Thompson sent Joachim clear to score the 12th goal of his brief career with a stunning low drive.

Stan Collymore, Southend's pounds 2m- rated forward, then drew two fine saves from Poole, although Angell followed up to score when the keeper was unable to hold the second, stinging effort. But Walsh restored the somewhat flattering three-goal margin with an injury-time back-header, his 11th goal in 13 matches. Leicester City: Poole; Mills, Whitlow, Smith (James, 65), Walsh, Hill, Oldfield, Thompson, Agnew (Grayson, 74), Joachim, Philpott.

Southend United: Sansome; Edwards, Powell, Jones, Scully, Prior, Ansah (Sussex, 61), Martin (Cornwell, 61), Hall, Collymore, Angell.

Referee: K Hackett (Sheffield).