Eastwood sells Southend a bargain-price promotion

Lincoln City 0 Southend United 2, Aet; 0-0 at 90 minutes
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The Independent Football

This was not a game that will linger long in anyone but Southend's memory. Even the referee seemed in a hurry to get this League Two play-off final over with as quickly as possible as he started the match early.

The official must have known what was coming. A first-half with no discernible quality was followed by a second one with only a marginally higher incident quotient. It all led to extra time where the Essex team eventually found their way to goal and promotion to League One.

That Steve Tilson's side ended seven years in the lowest tier of the Football League was largely down to Freddy Eastwood, a former West Ham United trainee, who spent a year helping his father sell second-hand cars when the Hammers released him in 2002. "Don't buy one - they're dodgy," joked Tilson.

However, a season with Grays Athletic reignited Eastwood's desire. "I didn't know what I wanted to do when I stepped out of football," he said. "But I missed it and wanted to get back into it straightaway." Eastwood's 24th goal of a prolific season broke the deadlock, as he lashed the ball in from a yard after Matthew Bloomer's clearance off the line from Spencer Prior's header.

With Lincoln, who have now lost in the play-offs in three consecutive seasons, committed forward, Eastwood picked them off with a counter-attack, letting in Duncan Jupp for his first goal in 10 years.

Eastwood can now enjoy his impending holiday at Disneyworld before League One's finest defenders stop him trying to take the Mickey Mouse.

Goals: Eastwood (105) 0-1; Jupp (110) 0-2.

Lincoln City (3-4-3): Marriott; McCombe, Morgan, Futcher; McAuley, Butcher, Gain, Sandwith; Yeo (Asamoah, 91), Taylor-Fletcher (Bloomer, 95), Green (Beevers, 105). Substitutes not used: Rayner (gk), Hanlon.

Southend United ( 4-4-2): Flahavan; Jupp, Prior, Barrett, Wilson; Bentley, Pettefer, Maher, Nicolau (Gower, 119); Eastwood (Edwards, 119), Gray (Dudfield, 81). Substitutes not used: Griemink (gk), Guttridge.

Referee: M Atkinson (West Yorkshire).

Booked: Lincoln Futcher; Southend Bentley.

Man of the match: Eastwood.

Attendance: 19,653.

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