Southend United 5 Queen's Park Rangers 0: Late Maher double caps QPR's humiliation

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Southend continued their remarkable Championship revival as QPR crashed to an eighth straight away defeat at Roots Hall last night.

A freak goal from Lee Bradbury, a tremendous second from Mark Gower, a towering header from Efe Sodje and two late long-range efforts from Kevin Maher earned the Shrimpers a richly deserved win which brought them to within a point of climbing out of the bottom three. "We have only lost once in eight games and that's a good return," said the Southend manager Steve Tilson. "I believe that we can stay up, although we still have a lot of work to do."

The home side were handed a comic opener after nine minutes courtesy of the QPR goalkeeper Simon Royce, who drilled a clearance straight at Bradbury, and the ball rebounded off the striker's right foot.

Southend's second goal came when QPR fell asleep at the back defending a straight Maher free-kick. Gower was allowed to escape his marker brought the ball under instant control to finish inside Royce's near post.

Sodje rose highest to nod in Maher's corner from close range for the third before Maher struck twice.

Southend United (4-4-2): Flahavan; Hunt, Clarke, Sodje (Francis, 87), Barrett; Campbell-Ryce, McCormack, Maher, Gower (Foran, 77); Eastwood (Harrold, 87), Bradbury. Substitutes not used: Collis, Hooper.

Queen's Park Rangers (3-4-3): Royce; Mancienne, Cullip (Jones, 77), Stewart; Ainsworth, Lomas, Bolder, Timoska (Rehman, 68); Rowlands, Blackstock, Cook. Substitutes not used: Cole, Nygaard, Smith.

Referee: P Walton (Northamptonshire).