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Summary

  1. Parrett curled Stevenage ahead
  2. Corr headed equaliser for Southend
  3. Dave Beasant, 56, was on Stevenage bench
  4. Nasty clash of heads caused long delay
  5. Second leg at Roots Hall on Thursday

Live Reporting

By Phil Shepka

All times stated are UK

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FT: Stevenage 1-1 Southend United

Barry Corr
PA

Well there you have it. It's all to play for in this battle to reach the League Two play-off final and you can read

Tom Garry's fine report here.

Dean Parrett's superb curling effort for Stevenage was cancelled out by this man, Barry Corr, leaving the tie in the balance before Thursday's second leg at Roots Hall.

We also saw two of the nastiest head injuries you're likely to see on a football pitch, after Bira Dembele and Michael Timlin came together in the first half, the latter needing 15 stitches to seal his wound.

Hope you've enjoyed our live text tonight. We'll be back tomorrow from 19:00 BST for Swindon against Sheffield United in League One.

Adios.

FT: Stevenage 1-1 Southend United

Tom Garry

BBC Sport at Lamex Stadium

"Both sets of fans seem pretty happy with that. The travelling supporters will be the happier, and confident they can finish the job at Roots Hall, but did they miss a big opportunity tonight? Phil Brown's side spent an awful lot of time in the Stevenage half and perhaps should be ahead in this tie.

"Now, after the intense noise of the second half, an almost eerie calm has fallen over the Lamex Stadium. There's a hint of - 'we'll see you on Thursday' from both sets of fans."

FT: Stevenage 1-1 Southend United

Southend manager Phil Brown told Sky Sports:

"If you look at the cut on Michael Timlin's forehead, and he wanted to play on, can you believe it?

"It was pure commitment from both teams. I think we just edged it in terms of chances and possession but at the same time it's a draw and hopefully we can do the job on Thursday."

FT: Stevenage 1-1 Southend United

Southend captain John White tells Sky Sports:

"We knew it was going to be a real scrap to get a foothold in the game. Once they got the goal ahead, it knocked the stuffing out of us for a few minutes. But I thought we reacted well and got back into it quite quickly."

Join the debate at #bbcfootball

FT: Stevenage 1-1 Southend United

Stevenage v Southend
Tom Garry

BBC Sport's Tom Garry at the Lamex Stadium: The players trudge off after an intense first leg of this play-off tie. To be continued on Thursday....

FT: Stevenage 1-1 Southend United

Stevenage midfielder Dean Parrett tells Sky Sports:

"It's two good teams and we both fought hard. We worked hard. They scored from a set-play, which we work on every day and we're a bit disappointed about that."

FULL-TIME

Stevenage 1-1 Southend United

The free-kick almost drops for a dramatic Stevenage winner, but Tom Conlon's turn and shot goes wide of the goal. But did that take a deflection off a Southend defender? The referee doesn't think so and blows for full-time.

Stevenage 1-1 Southend United

One last chance for Stevenage? A free-kick on the right after Myles Weston takes out Jerome Okimo.

Stevenage 1-1 Southend United

Southend almost nicked it at the death there. Southend clear a Stevenage corner to Myles Weston, who breaks into the box down the right, but his shot from a tight angle is kept out by Chris Day in the Boro goal.

Stevenage 1-1 Southend United

David Worrall is close and this time it would have counted. Southend sub Myles Weston does a couple of stepovers down the right to earn his some space, and puts in a deep cross which Worrall acrobatically turns just wide of the goal.

The referee's board then signals four minutes added time.

Stevenage 1-1 Southend United

Southend midfielder David Worrall thinks he's through on goal, but has just gone too early and is offside. His shot misses the target anyway.

Will Stevenage go for the win? Daniel Bentley in the Shrimpers goal has not been beaten at Roots Hall in the last 12 games he's played there.

YELLOW CARD

Stevenage 1-1 Southend United

That referee's notebook has a fair amount of airtime tonight. Southend sub Gary Deegan is another one in the book for a clumsy challenge which sums up this game.

Stevenage 1-1 Southend United

Stevenage v Southend
Getty Images

Just six minutes left. Will anyone be able to find a winner or will it be level going into the second leg?

SUBSTITUTION

Stevenage 1-1 Southend United

Barry Corr
PA

Barry Corr has worked his socks off today as well as equalising for his side, so Southend boss Phil Brown gives him a well-earned rest, bringing on Charlton loanee Joe Pigott in his place.

YELLOW CARD

Stevenage 1-1 Southend United

Stevenage midfielder Chris Whelpdale is the latest player to go into the referee's book for hauling down David Worrall on the halfway line.

SUBSTITUTION

Stevenage 1-1 Southend United

A couple of substitutions now as Tom Pett comes off his namesake for Tom Conlon for Stevenage, while Southend boss Phil Brown replaces Stephen McLaughlin, on loan from Nottingham Forest, with Myles Weston.

Stevenage 1-1 Southend United

Tom Garry

BBC Sport at Lamex Stadium

Gary Deegan
PA

"This is a different tie all of a sudden, with those goals sparking things into life. The pace has intensified, and there a few nervous faces among the home crowd, with Southend spending a lot of time in the Stevenage half."

Stevenage 1-1 Southend United

Ben Kennedy has looked very decent since coming on for Stevenage, and he cuts inside to take a great left-footed shot from outside the area, which Daniel Bentley can only parry to safety. Anyone for another wordly?

Stevenage 1-1 Southend United

Danger from a Southend corner again. It's almost a carbon-copy of the one they scored from, but Barry Corr can't find the goal or a team-mate, and Stevenage scramble it away.

Meanwhile, Bira Dembele is back on the bench after having stitches to fix up his head following the clash with Michael Timlin.

Stevenage 1-1 Southend United

Stevenage goalkeeper Chris Day, knowing he has 56-year-old Dave Beasant looking on from the bench, pulls off a fine save.

Southend captain John White fizzes a shot from 30 yards out, and despite a deflection off a defender, Day is able to keep it out at full stretch. Great stuff all round.

Stevenage 1-1 Southend United

Barry Corr
Getty Images

After that equaliser there's just been a little bit of a lull in the match, with neither side are really able to get their foot on the ball for long periods.

That, by the way, was Barry Corr's 15th league goal this season.

Stevenage 1-1 Southend United

A bit of good news to bring you. Southend's Michael Timlin is out watching his team-mates from the touchline following his first-half clash with Stevenage defender Bira Dembele which left him needing 15 stitches in his head.

That's going to hurt in the morning.

YELLOW CARD

Stevenage 1-1 Southend United

This game is quite niggly, and we have a fourth player in the book as Southend midfielder David Worrall, who has been impressive today, sees yellow for a trip on tricky substitute Ben Kennedy.

Can anyone find that bit of quality to win the game?

GOAL (Corr)

Stevenage 1-1 Southend United

Barry Corr
PA

Southend are right back in this tie now, and it's their top scorer Barry Corr who has brought them level.

An inswinging corner from the right reaches the big forward at the back post, and his header towards goal deflects off an unsuspecting Andy Bond and into the net.

Stevenage 1-0 Southend United

Tom's right, the Stevenage fans are clearly loving life right now. Could manager Graham Westley repeat the trick of 2011 and take his team to League One via the play-offs?

Stevenage 1-0 Southend United

Jermaine Beckford
Getty Images

We're being spoilt by some great play-off goals today, aren't we?

Earlier, Jermaine Beckford scored from the halfway line to seal Preston's 4-0 aggregate victory over Chesterfield in the League One play-off semi-final.

And this was the reception he got from the Preston fans after that wonder goal. Admittedly, they were also probably quite excited about the prospect of an upcoming trip to Wembley...

Stevenage 1-0 Southend United

Tom Garry

BBC Sport at Lamex Stadium

"Who knew a League Two ground could generate so much noise? This game needed a goal, and that was some goal. Joyful scenes here. Now what have Southend got in their locker?"

GOAL (Parrett)

Stevenage 1-0 Southend United

Well, well, well. Dean Parrett has absolutely lit up the Lamex Stadium.

Once a team-mate of Harry Kane and Ryan Mason in Tottenham's youth team, Parrett picks up a pass from Charlie Lee and shows superb technique to curl the ball from the edge of the area past the despairing dive of Daniel Bentley in the Southend goal.

That's a play-off goal we could be seeing for quite some time.

Stevenage 0-0 Southend United

Who's that in the crowd? It's Wycombe manager Gareth Ainsworth, who could be facing one of these sides in the play-off final at Wembley.

Ainsworth's side have a one-goal advantage going into the second leg at Adams Park.

Stevenage 0-0 Southend United

Stevenage defender Jerome Okimo, who was very quiet in the first half, tries to make an impact on the game when he runs through pretty much the whole Southend team, before his cross into the box bounces off a defender and then bounces back off him.

A signal of intent from Boro?

SUBSTITUTION

HT: Stevenage 0-0 Southend United

Two half-time for substitutions for Stevenage as Bira Dembele comes off for Jon Ashton (any surprises there?), while youngster Ben Kennedy comes on for the yellow-carded Roarie Deacon.

And we're off for the second half.

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HT: Stevenage 0-0 Southend United

Nathan Barrett: That was possibly the worst collision I've ever seen between two players.

Ben Dunbar: I've seen worse, he's from South London - he will want to run that off.

Southend's Michael Timlin, sporting a nasty head wound, was replaced soon after his collision with Stevenage captain Bira Dembele, who has also been taken off.

We wish both well - it was a horrible, horrible moment.

HT: Stevenage 0-0 Southend United

Wycombe
PA

A reminder that the winners of this semi-final will face either Plymouth or Wycombe in the League Two final at Wembley on 23 May.

Last night, the Chairboys looked to be taking a three-goal advantage into Thursday's second leg, but two late Argyle goals at Home Park saw the game end 3-2, leaving the tie very much in the balance.

HT: Stevenage 0-0 Southend United

Tom Garry

BBC Sport at Lamex Stadium

Stevenage v Southend
PA

"I can't remember seeing a more physical half of football all season. Both sets of players are showing some serious commitment to the cause tonight.

Southend have definitely had the better chances, but they lost a bit of their momentum when we had that lengthy break to treat the two head injuries.

"Despite that, the visiting fans seem pretty satisfied with their team's showing so far. As for the hosts, they could do with a goal to get this place rocking like it was ahead of kick-off."

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HT: Stevenage 0-0 Southend United

So what do you make of that first half, ladies and gents? Do you think we'll have a breakthrough in this match, or do you think they will both be happy to settle for a draw ahead of Thursday's second leg?

Get involved using #bbcfootball on Twitter.

HALF-TIME

Stevenage 0-0 Southend United

Bira Dembele and Michael Timlin
PA

Finally the half-time whistle blows. Other than that late David Worrall chance, the biggest talking point of the first half is obviously the collision between Michael Timlin and Bira Dembele.

YELLOW CARD

Stevenage 0-0 Southend United

The first yellow card for Stevenage as Roarie Deacon catches John White late just outside the area on the right.

The resulting free-kick leads to a completely mistimed header by Barry Corr, which troubles no-one in Stevenage colours.

Stevenage 0-0 Southend United

As I say that, the best chance of the half follows as a ball into the box breaks for David Worrall, but he scuffs his shot from the edge of the six-yard box right at Chris Day in the Stevenage goal.

He had the whole goal to aim at and absolutely had to score.

Stevenage 0-0 Southend United

We've reached the 50th minute of the half, and Chris Beardsley heads wide for Stevenage under pressure from Dean Parrett's ball in. I think everyone would like to get into the dressing rooms now.

Stevenage 0-0 Southend United

The opening exchanges of this injury time have been very bitty, but Will Atkinson has a glorious chance to put Southend ahead.

Barry Corr does what he does best and holds the ball up before laying off to Atkinson, who fires well over from a decent position in the box.