Tough job done by Wolves

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It was a tough test for Mick McCarthy's second string on Tuesday night against a spirited Southend side.

The visitors started the game on the front foot, scuppering a few good chances. Wolves were clearly finding it hard to get going.

But, just as you felt Southend might get a shock goal, they went behind; Nenad Milijas confidently burying a 27th minute penalty. The decision was stonewall - young debutant Sam Winnall showing great skill to get into the Shrimpers box, only to be felled by Chris Barker.

But the confidence the goal should have brought was non-existent. Bilel Mohsni was unfortunate not to pull the away side level almost immediately after the penalty with a weak header, and minutes later the same man had a goal disallowed for offside.

The Premier League side were in the lead, but looked like a side desperate for the half-time whistle.

Southend started the second half the way they ended the first, Barry Corr forcing Wayne Hennessey into a low save.

Slowly but surely Wolves were beginning to take a little more control of the game though, and started to fashion chances of their own; Winnall was slightly wasteful in front of goal, as were Milijas and Hemmings. But the signs were positive.

But again, Southend came back at them, Paul Sturrock's son Blair hammering a shot against the crossbar with 20 minutes remaining. McCarthy decided enough was enough and sent on Ebanks-Blake and Kevin Doyle to get the job done.

They had barely had a chance to effect the game when the equaliser was conceded - Craig Easton stooping to guide a low header past Hennessey.

Wolves could have had the tie sown up no more than two minutes later, if it hadn't been for the linesman's flag. Ebanks-Blake on the receiving end of a close decision.

As the game dragged on, it became scrappy; tired legs accounting for misplaced passes and mis-hit shots. Southend were the main culprits; wasting some great chances to snatch a famous victory.

Ebanks-Blake was once again ruled offside when he pounced on a deflected Milijas shot and the game looked destined for penalties. But, just before the final whistle sounded, stand-in captain Richard Stearman scrambled a Ronald Zubar cross over the line and guaranteed his side will be in the pot for the Third Round draw.

The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.

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