IPSWICH 0-2 SOUTHEND
GET ready for the oddest end-of-season celebrations ever seen in football.
Southend's stars are looking to stage their very own wacky race along the prom at the seaside resort.
The idea came from defender Peter Clarke, whose debut goal for the club sealed the Shrimpers' first win at Portman Road in 57 years.
And it was inspired by top scorer Freddy Eastwood after he stopped the traffic on a busy road in Essex last week when he took his pony and trap out for a run.
Clarke laughed: "Some players have a round of golf on their day off but that's what Freddy enjoys and each to their own.
"We've been on at him to see if he can get enough for all the lads to have a go and race somewhere. Along the prom would be great - what a spectacle that would be!"
Goalkeeper Darryl Flahavan, whose second-half saves from Owen Garvan, Danny Haynes and George O'Callaghan kept Ipswich out, is all for the idea.
He said: "We've had open-top bus rides round the town for winning promotion the last two years. The horse and cart race would certainly be different!"
Clarke shook off marker Alan Lee to volley home from six yards after Simon Francis had flicked on skipper Kevin Maher's free-kick.
Seven minutes earlier Mark Gower's low centre found its way through a crowd of players and went in off the far post.
It was the perfect start to a big week for Southend, who take on out-of-sorts Burnley at Roots Hall tomorrow and bottom side Leeds on Saturday.
Modest hero Flahavan added: "It would be a massive achievement if we could stay up and we have at least given ourselves a fighting chance.
"We weren't being negative when we said right from the start that if we managed to stay up it would represent a great season. I made some decent saves but it wasn't really that special. All the lads chipped in."
Garvan and Haynes both struck the woodwork but it was a horror show for Ipswich, who slumped to their eighth home defeat. That's more than in the whole of last season - when they finished in their lowest position for 40 years.
It has been a tough first season in charge for rookie boss Jim Magilton, not helped by an appalling disciplinary record. Leading scorer Alan Lee will be fined after being sent off 12 minutes from the end for a second booking.
Already cautioned in the first half for dissent, he became the fifth Tractor Boy to see red this term when he punched the ball Maradona-style into the net.
Magilton was also cursing the loss of on-loan striker Francis Jeffers, who limped off with a hamstring injury in what was only his third appearance. Former England cap Jeffers is back at Blackburn and will not return to Ipswich, who still have work to do to ensure their own survival in the Championship.
A furious Magilton said: "The first half was woeful. It was a local derby and I wish someone had told our lads," he said.
"We were second to every ball whereas Southend would rather have died than lose that game. "It was a case of after the Lord Mayor's Show for us, having beaten QPR and Hull and then thinking you only have to turn up to beat lowly Southend.
"They have let me down, the staff down and the supporters down. It was a derby and we didn't put a tackle in. I have not spoken to Alan. It was idiotic from one of our senior players to get sent off. When we needed him most he let us down."