Branston snaps after Torquay finally succumb

Southend United 2 Torquay United 1

The Football League's last remaining 100 per cent record disappeared as Torquay were deservedly beaten despite a late flurry of pressure. Paul Buckle's side dropped to second place, behind Shrewsbury, as the Gulls' afternoon ended acrimoniously with the defender Guy Branston losing his cool with Southend's club photographer, David Scriven, on the final whistle. As both walked across the pitch, Branston confronted the photographer, whose time-wasting "crime" had been to flick the ball into empty stands as Torquay chased a stoppage-time equaliser in vain.

"It was a good ploy but when you've got Guy looking for it you have to be a brave person to do that," Buckle said. "I've said to Guy he can't react like that but he's passionate and doesn't like losing. They were both a bit naughty." Torquay had only themselves to blame however as they were second best for a huge portion of the afternoon.

Louie Soares forced Torquay's goalkeeper Scott Bevan into an early save and his strike partner, Blair Sturrock, son of the Southend manager Paul, chested wide two minutes later.

Southend are attempting a rebuilding job under Sturrock, with the Scot having to assemble an almost entirely new squad after the club narrowly avoided being pushed into administration because of an HM Revenue & Customs winding up petition a month ago. Winding up was what Blair Sturrock's clever lay-back allowed Josh Simpson to do in the box but the on-loan Peterborough midfielder's shot cleared the crossbar.

Torquay were failing to live up to their pre-match billing and fell behind in the 15th minute when the former Chelsea trainee Anthony Grant, whose one first team appearance there was at Old Trafford five years ago, produced a quality finish from Ryan Hall's half-cleared corner, side-footing into the top corner of the goal.

Grant then hit a post on the half-hour mark as Southend continued to dominate and although Torquay's Mark Ellis found an upright at the other end with his side's only effort of note, Simpson made amends for his earlier miss with the second Southend goal after 43 minutes that was also perfectly placed beyond Bevan's reach.

Torquay continued to live dangerously after the break with Chris Robertson's pull on Soares' shirt in the box going un-punished by referee Dean Whitestone and Kevin Nicholson clearing off the line from Bilel Mohsni.

The Gulls at last began to look like League leaders with Chris Zebroski firing an effort across goal before Grant stopped a goal-bound Ellis effort and Nicholson's shot was deflected on to the bar. Twelve minutes were remaining when Zebroski pulled one back after the substitute Martin Gritton had hit a post. The captain Nicky Wroe should have equalised straight away but miskicked in front of goal. The home side nervously but successfully negotiated four minutes of added time, which saw the goalkeeper Glenn Morris paw away a Zebroski header.

Sturrock admitted it had been a close call in the end. "In the first half we could have been further ahead," he said. "In the second they had clear cut chances that they missed. Overall I'm pleased but the last 20 minutes it was all hands to the pumps."

Emma Watson has become the latest target of the 4Chan nude hacking scandal
peopleThreats follows actress' speech on feminism and equality at the UN
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
Rita Ora will replace Kylie Minogue as a judge on The Voice 2015
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
Tennis player Andy Murray's mum Judy has been paired with Anton du Beke for Strictly Come Dancing. 'I'm absolutely delighted,' she said.
tvJudy Murray 'struggling' to let Anton Du Beke take control on Strictly
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits