Matt Richards's last-minute penalty rescued a dramatic point for Cheltenham at high-flying Southend.

The Shrimpers looked to be heading to the top of League Two after Kevan Hurst tapped in Barry Corr's knock down.

But in the fourth minute of injury-time Anthony Straker was adjudged to have handled in the box and Richards stepped up to slot the ball home.

Earlier, Daniel Bentley kept out Kemar Roofe and David Noble, while Richards had a goal ruled out for offside.

Southend struggled to create any clear cut chances after their goal with John White's 25-yard strike which fizzed just wide of the post their best opportunity.

Phil Brown's men, who had won four straight league games before Saturday's clash, remain in third place.

VIEW FROM THE DRESSING ROOM

Southend United manager Phil Brown told BBC Essex:

Post match: Southend boss Brown

"It's disappointing, 25 seconds from the the end we were top of the league and now we're still in third.

"It's been a magnificent month, a fantastic run, but today just wasn't our day. We didn't get into any kind of rhythm.

"To be brutally honest if we had won the game it would have been steal.

"I thought it was a harsh decision [the penalty awarded to Cheltenham]. I thought Anthony Straker was fouled at the back post. The push from the striker has caused his hand to hit the ball, as opposed to the other way round."

Mark Yates: Cheltenham Town manager on 1-1 draw at Southend

Cheltenham Town manager Mark Yates told BBC Radio Gloucestershire:

"Credit to the work-rate that the team have put in, we were just desperately disappointed to go down 1-0 at half time.

"The spirit in the squad just kept us going, and the 96th minute equaliser probably just sums up where we are at the minute.

"Ifs, buts and maybes don't get you where you want - results, winning games, that's what we're after."

"I think we're playing pretty solidly, not letting in the goals that we stupidly conceded early on, and I have every confidence in the group we'll start catching teams up eventually."

Lineup, Bookings (5) & Substitutions (4)

Southend United

  • 17 Bentley
  • 02 White
  • 03 Coker
  • 04 Laird (Clifford - 73' )
  • 15 Kiernan
  • 06 Prosser Booked
  • 12 Atkinson Booked
  • 08 Timlin
  • 10 Corr Booked
  • 14 Hurst (Thompson - 88' )
  • 11 Straker Booked

Substitutes

  • 01 Smith
  • 05 Phillips
  • 09 Reid
  • 16 Clifford
  • 20 Njie
  • 21 Payne
  • 23 Thompson

Cheltenham Town

  • 01 Brown
  • 20 Jombati
  • 22 Braham-Barrett
  • 25 Noble
  • 05 Brown
  • 06 Elliott
  • 11 McGlashan
  • 04 Taylor (Gornell - 81' )
  • 09 Harrison
  • 14 Richards
  • 23 Roofe (Penn - 72' Booked )

Substitutes

  • 07 Cureton
  • 08 Deering
  • 10 Gornell
  • 12 Roberts
  • 15 Goldson
  • 16 Penn
  • 26 Ajala
Ref: Trevor Kettle
Att: 5,677

Match Stats

Shots

5 11

On target

3 6

Corners

3 8

Fouls

14 12

Live Text Commentary

Full time

Full Time Match ends, Southend United 1, Cheltenham Town 1.

90:00 +6:14 Full time

Full Time Second Half ends, Southend United 1, Cheltenham Town 1.

90:00 +5:25 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Southend United 1, Cheltenham Town 1. Matthew Richards (Cheltenham Town) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the top left corner.

90:00 +4:07

Penalty conceded by Anthony Straker (Southend United) with a hand ball in the penalty area.

90:00 +1:34

Attempt missed. Byron Harrison (Cheltenham Town) left footed shot from the right side of the box is close, but misses to the left.

90:00 +1:09 Booking

Booking Anthony Straker (Southend United) is shown the yellow card.

90:00 +1:00

Jermaine McGlashan (Cheltenham Town) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

90:00 +0:59

Foul by Adam Thompson (Southend United).

88:40

Adam Thompson (Southend United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

88:40

Foul by Russell Penn (Cheltenham Town).

87:02 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Southend United. Adam Thompson replaces Kevan Hurst.

84:43

Foul by Conor Clifford (Southend United).

84:43

Russell Penn (Cheltenham Town) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

80:36 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Cheltenham Town. Terry Gornell replaces Jason Taylor.

79:28 Booking

Booking Russell Penn (Cheltenham Town) is shown the yellow card.

78:25

Attempt saved. Jason Taylor (Cheltenham Town) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

75:49

Corner, Cheltenham Town. Conceded by Ben Coker.

75:09

Corner, Cheltenham Town. Conceded by Ben Coker.

74:18 Booking

Booking Barry Corr (Southend United) is shown the yellow card.

72:07 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Southend United. Conor Clifford replaces Marc Laird.

71:22 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Cheltenham Town. Russell Penn replaces Kemar Roofe.

69:46

Foul by Marc Laird (Southend United).

69:46

Craig Braham-Barrett (Cheltenham Town) wins a free kick on the left wing.

68:17

Foul by Will Atkinson (Southend United).

68:17

David Noble (Cheltenham Town) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

64:29

Attempt saved. Jermaine McGlashan (Cheltenham Town) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

63:51

Attempt missed. John White (Southend United) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right.

60:41

Attempt missed. David Noble (Cheltenham Town) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.

60:26

Attempt saved. David Noble (Cheltenham Town) right footed shot from long range on the left is saved in the top right corner.

59:34

Foul by Robert Kiernan (Southend United).

59:34

Craig Braham-Barrett (Cheltenham Town) wins a free kick on the left wing.

55:41

Foul by Robert Kiernan (Southend United).

55:41

Byron Harrison (Cheltenham Town) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

51:53

Corner, Cheltenham Town. Conceded by John White.

49:39

Ben Coker (Southend United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

49:39

Foul by Jermaine McGlashan (Cheltenham Town).

47:21

Anthony Straker (Southend United) wins a free kick on the left wing.

47:21

Foul by Jason Taylor (Cheltenham Town).

45:00

Second Half begins Southend United 1, Cheltenham Town 0.

45:00 +2:59 Half time

Half Time First Half ends, Southend United 1, Cheltenham Town 0.

45:00 +1:39

Corner, Southend United. Conceded by Craig Braham-Barrett.

45:00 +0:02

Foul by Barry Corr (Southend United).

45:00 +0:02

Jason Taylor (Cheltenham Town) wins a free kick on the left wing.

43:28

Luke Prosser (Southend United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

43:28

Foul by Steve Elliott (Cheltenham Town).

43:03

Foul by Will Atkinson (Southend United).

43:03

Kemar Roofe (Cheltenham Town) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

40:28 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Southend United 1, Cheltenham Town 0. Kevan Hurst (Southend United) left footed shot from very close range to the bottom left corner.

40:08

Attempt saved. Kevan Hurst (Southend United) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

39:17

John White (Southend United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

39:17

Foul by Jermaine McGlashan (Cheltenham Town).

37:14

Attempt missed. Jason Taylor (Cheltenham Town) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right.

33:30

Anthony Straker (Southend United) wins a free kick on the left wing.

33:30

Foul by Sido Jombati (Cheltenham Town).

32:44

Attempt saved. Barry Corr (Southend United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

31:06

Luke Prosser (Southend United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

31:06

Foul by Byron Harrison (Cheltenham Town).

29:18

Michael Timlin (Southend United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

29:18

Foul by Byron Harrison (Cheltenham Town).

28:04

Corner, Southend United. Conceded by Troy Brown.

24:20 Booking

Booking Luke Prosser (Southend United) is shown the yellow card.

24:12

Foul by Luke Prosser (Southend United).

24:12

Jermaine McGlashan (Cheltenham Town) wins a free kick on the right wing.

23:12

Corner, Cheltenham Town. Conceded by Daniel Bentley.

22:38

Corner, Cheltenham Town. Conceded by Robert Kiernan.

20:00

Robert Kiernan (Southend United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

19:56

Foul by Byron Harrison (Cheltenham Town).

18:53

Foul by Barry Corr (Southend United).

18:53

Steve Elliott (Cheltenham Town) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

17:41

Foul by Barry Corr (Southend United).

17:41

David Noble (Cheltenham Town) wins a free kick on the right wing.

16:53

Marc Laird (Southend United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

16:53

Foul by Jason Taylor (Cheltenham Town).

12:29

Corner, Cheltenham Town. Conceded by Daniel Bentley.

12:03

Attempt saved. David Noble (Cheltenham Town) right footed shot from very close range is saved in the bottom left corner.

11:07

Foul by John White (Southend United).

11:07

Jermaine McGlashan (Cheltenham Town) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

10:54

Hand ball by Jason Taylor (Cheltenham Town).

10:32

Attempt saved. Kemar Roofe (Cheltenham Town) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner.

9:00

Attempt missed. Kemar Roofe (Cheltenham Town) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.

7:26

(Southend United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

7:26

Foul by Troy Brown (Cheltenham Town).

6:50

Foul by Marc Laird (Southend United).

6:50

Kemar Roofe (Cheltenham Town) wins a free kick on the right wing.

5:35

Corner, Southend United. Conceded by Sido Jombati.

4:12

Attempt blocked. Byron Harrison (Cheltenham Town) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

3:37

Corner, Cheltenham Town. Conceded by Robert Kiernan.

2:47

Attempt missed. Michael Timlin (Southend United) left footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right.

2:05

Corner, Cheltenham Town. Conceded by Luke Prosser.

0:00

First Half begins.

0:00

Lineups are announced and players are warming up.

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