League One side Blackburn Rovers started the new season on a not-so-good note as they lost 2-1 to Southend United on Saturday. Rovers lost away as goals from Ryan Leonard and Michael Kightly gave the hosts the edge before Charlie Mulgrew could pull one back.
Leonard had gone close in the 13th minute but keeper David Raya stopped his drive. Another Southend attack in the first half ended with Simon Cox sending his effort over the bar after latching onto a Jermaine McGlashan cross.
The guests only had one shot on target in the first half and it was from Elliott Bennett but keeper Mark Oxley stopped the effort. The League One title favourites allowed an unmarked Leonard send his volley into the net after a corner from Michael Timlin in the 27th minute.
Just before the second goal, Rovers were finding their foot in the game. Marc Antoine-Fortune, who had been doing a brilliant job using his strength to win duels for Southend, had his effort denied by Raya who used his feet. Kightly was on ground to score from 12 yards. The same Fortune flicked Cox the ball only for him to send his effort wide. And it would have been 3-0. Fans who had bought tickets for the match through this link would have been disappointed with the performance come half time.
After the break, Rovers stepped up. They pressured the opponents and got a free kick which Mulgrew scored, similar to the goal he scored in the last day of the last term at Brentford. The team had to proceed with caution even as they sought for an equalizer as Southend were trying to increase their lead. Timlin and Fortune were denied else the score would have changed.
Rovers were concerned after utilizing all their possible changes in the game. Darragh Lenihan was struggling upfront and they needed an equalizer. Southend contained any Rovers threat and almost scored but the game ended 2-1.