Southend United finally won their first game of the season this weekend, with Arsenal loanee James Olayinka completing 90 minutes.
Looking at the stats for James Olayinka’s recent performances, it’s hard to say he’s playing badly. When you see the fantastic solo goal he scored in the FA Cup last weekend, it’s even more difficult to blame him for Southend United’s form.
Yet their form is terrible. Even if we only counted the games since Olayinka joined, it was six defeats and one defeat on penalties before Saturday. Including the games before his signing, it was 14 defeats and two draws.
So to get a win this weekend was huge. It came courtesy of an 88th-minute goal from Emile Acauah, sparking big celebrations from the players and the fans watching at home.
Southend actually had the best of the chances in the first half, but they were lucky to stay level for much of the second. They cleared one shot off the line and saw a Walsall penalty hit the crossbar in the final 10 minutes before their late winner.
Sometimes you have to ride your luck to get out of a terrible run of form. Southend fans will hope this is the start of them turning the corner, but they’ll have to temper their expectations, with second-placed Cambridge United up next.
Individually, Olayinka completed 18 of 23 passes, including three of four long balls. He made one clearance, one interception, one tackle, and blocked one shot to help Southend to their first clean sheet of the campaign.