Losing run goes on as Lydney come up short
LYDNEY slumped to a third consecutive defeat after a dour contest against Southend.
In a first half in which handling errors and poor decision-making limited genuine try-scoring opportunities, the visitors wasted a golden chance to open their account on nine minutes.
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Josh Innes saw the field open up in front of him as his short line off a scrum sliced through the home side's defence.
With Chris Holder and Lewis Beer in support and only the full-back to beat, a lack of accuracy in the trio's passing allowed Southend to regroup and usher Beer into touch.
And Lydney were punished four minutes later when the hosts grabbed the first score.
From a close-range scrum, the Essex side crashed the ball up in midfield.
Defenders were sucked into the breakdown, creating an overlap on the left wing that was fully exploited by Danny Cleare, who scored his third try of the season. Jack Jones was off target with the conversion.
Lydney reduced the deficit to two points on 24 minutes courtesy of a 30-metre Tony Wicks penalty, which turned out to be the final score of an uninspiring first half.
The visitors, seeking their first points since their opening day victory over struggling Barking, began the second half with far greater urgency in their play.
The Severnsiders' pack came in for criticism after last week's heavy defeat to Canterbury, but their power in the scrum resulted in an early pushover try for Charlie Daniel, converted well by Wicks.
Both sides then lost their blindside flankers to the sin bin as Alan Barker and Peter Butcher were dismissed for fighting.
The subsequent penalty went Southend's way and Jones struck a straightforward three points.
Lydney enjoyed the better of the 14-a-side period, but they fell behind again to a Todd Bailey try following openside Lee Guess' initial break from a lineout.
The reliable boot of Wicks immediately hauled Duncan Bell's side back to within two points as Southend infringed from the kick-off.
The hosts' Liam MacGeachy saw a penalty attempt of his own fade across the posts as the game remained delicately poised heading into the final quarter.
But the clincher came 15 minutes from time after Lydney were turned over on their 22.
Southend's replacement scrum-half Harry Branch sensed space in behind, and despite making a hash of his kick, the ball found Billy Driver.
The winger made no mistake with the simple task of touching down, ensuring that Lydney had to be content with a losing bonus point.
SOUTHEND: M Billings; B Driver, L MacGeachy, C Vaughan, D Cleare; J Jones (T Ashton 60), P Sansom (H Branch 60); T Bailey, N Grier, C Strachan; S Cook, A McLintock; A Barker, L Guess, H Hudson. Unused reps: T Reeman, J Ox, J Douglas.
LYDNEY: T Wicks; C Holder, J Innes, L Beer, L Kell (A Hall 58); C Russell, J Graham; A Ledner (D Bell 77), B Lewis (S Fisher 58), S Winchcombe (A Jarrett 8); J McMahon, D Bennett; P Butcher, M Taylor (R Hall 69), C Daniel.
Referee: Fergus Kirby (RFU)