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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

Get involved

  1. Post update

    FT: Stevenage 1-1 Southend United

    Barry Corr

    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.

  2. Post update

    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."

  3. Post update

    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."

  4. Post update

    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."

  5. Join the debate at #bbcfootball

    FT: Stevenage 1-1 Southend United

    Stevenage v Southend

    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....

  6. Post update

    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."

  7. 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.

  8. Post update

    Stevenage 1-1 Southend United

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

  9. Post update

    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.

  10. Post update

    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.

  11. Post update

    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.

  12. 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.

  13. Post update

    Stevenage 1-1 Southend United

    Stevenage v Southend

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

  14. SUBSTITUTION

    Stevenage 1-1 Southend United

    Barry Corr

    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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. Post update

    Stevenage 1-1 Southend United

    Tom Garry

    BBC Sport at Lamex Stadium

    Gary Deegan

    "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."

  18. Post update

    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?

  19. Post update

    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.

  20. Post update

    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.

  21. Post update

    Stevenage 1-1 Southend United

    Barry Corr

    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.

  22. Post update

    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.

  23. 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?

  24. GOAL (Corr)

    Stevenage 1-1 Southend United

    Barry Corr

    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.

  25. Post update

    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?

  26. Post update

    Stevenage 1-0 Southend United

    Jermaine Beckford

    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...

  27. Post update

    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?"

  28. 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.

  29. Post update

    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.

  30. Post update

    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?

  31. 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.

  32. Join the debate at #bbcfootball

    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.

  33. Post update

    HT: Stevenage 0-0 Southend United

    Wycombe

    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.

  34. Post update

    HT: Stevenage 0-0 Southend United

    Tom Garry

    BBC Sport at Lamex Stadium

    Stevenage v Southend

    "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."

  35. Join the debate at #bbcfootball

    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.

  36. HALF-TIME

    Stevenage 0-0 Southend United

    Bira Dembele and Michael Timlin

    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.

  37. 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.

  38. Post update

    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.

  39. Post update

    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.

  40. Post update

    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.

  41. Post update

    Stevenage 0-0 Southend United

    Bira Dembele

    That sums up the first half. Dean Parrett has a free-kick central of goal from 30 yards out, but his effort is high wide and not very handsome. The fourth official then indicates NINE minutes of first-half added time following the collision of Bira Dembele and Michael Timlin.

    Dembele, remember, is still on the pitch.

  42. Post update

    Stevenage 0-0 Southend United

    Adam Barrett, who earlier headed well over, comes much closer to opening the score this time. The central defender in his 300th appearance for Southend heads David Worrall's free-kick just over the bar. We're getting closer!

  43. YELLOW CARD

    Stevenage 0-0 Southend United

    A second Southend player in the book as Cian Bolger goes in late on Chris Beardsley.

    From the resulting free-kick Dean Wells fires wide with a left-foot shot.

  44. Post update

    Stevenage 0-0 Southend United

    Another player needing the physio now. Southend forward Barry Corr knocks the ball down for Stephen McLaughlin, but the winger just can't reach it. Instead, he collides with the head of goalkeeper Chris Day.

    Dave Beasant is looking on here... Could we see him on the pitch?

  45. Post update

    Stevenage 0-0 Southend United

    Wow. Despite appearing to be in serious trouble on the ground for a long time, Stevenage captain Bira Dembele is carrying on regardless. How long will he last? Will he even want to go up for a header again today?

  46. Post update

    Stevenage 0-0 Southend United

    It's fair to say we can expect a sizeable chunk of stoppage time at the end of the first half. But it's great to see Bira Dembele rise to his feet, and is duly applauded by the crowd.

  47. SUBSTITUTION

    Stevenage 0-0 Southend United

    Michael Timlin

    Michael Timlin will play no further part in the game, and is replaced by Gary Deegan, dropped from the team that lost to Morecambe last week.

  48. Post update

    Stevenage 0-0 Southend United

    Tom Garry

    BBC Sport at Lamex Stadium

    Bira Dembele

    "That looked like it really, really hurt. There was a gasp all around the ground. The players' reactions alone tell you it was a bad collision, all signalling straight for the physios."

  49. Post update

    Stevenage 0-0 Southend United

    Michael Timlin now has a Terry Butcher-style headband on, while the stretcher is on for Bira Dembele, who is now sitting up, with Graham Westley by his side.

  50. Post update

    Stevenage 0-0 Southend United

    Oh my. That is horrible.

    After Roarie Deacon misses a decent chance for Stevenage, Southend's Michael Timlin and Bira Dembele absolutely clatter into each other challenging for a long aerial ball and are both sent flying.

    They each had eyes on the ball, but there is a fair amount of blood gushing from the heads of both, causing Shrimpers manager Phil Brown to check come onto the pitch on the state of his player.

  51. Join the debate at #bbcfootball

    Stevenage 0-0 Southend United

    Paul Stone: I want Beasant to come on in the last minute. Regardless of the result!

  52. YELLOW CARD

    Stevenage 0-0 Southend United

    Just after I say that Barry Corr is in the book after pulling Bira Dembele to the ground by his ankles after losing the ball in the air. He has to be very careful now.

  53. Post update

    Stevenage 0-0 Southend United

    Barry Corr and Dean Wells

    Interesting. Very interesting.

    Barry Corr ignores the ball in an aerial duel with Dean Wells and instead appears to headbutt the back of the Stevenage defender's head. It could get a little feisty between those two.

  54. Post update

    Stevenage 0-0 Southend United

    Dave Beasant

    That would be quite some story wouldn't it? Goalkeeper Dave Beasant would become the oldest ever professional in English football at 56 if he was to come off the Stevenage bench tonight - in a play-off semi-final.

    It's the third time he's been on their bench this season but the pressure is on Boro keeper Chris Day not to get an injury, or even a red card!

  55. Post update

    Stevenage 0-0 Southend United

    Dean Parrett

    Stevenage almost got lucky there. Dean Parrett curled in an overhit cross, and it had Daniel Bentley scrambling across his goal to keep it out. Corner to Boro which comes to nothing.

  56. Post update

    Stevenage 0-0 Southend United

    Southend are doing all of the pressing here, with Will Atkinson causing all sorts of problems down the right wing. His ball into the middle is dealt with well by Stevenage, but Bira Dembele is up against it tonight.

  57. Post update

    Stevenage 0-0 Southend United

    Tom Garry

    BBC Sport at Lamex Stadium

    "Before the free-kick that led to Adam Barrett's chance, Dave Worrall asked the referee not to book Bira Dembele, which was excellent sportsmanship because it was a professional foul.

    "Southend look lively going forward. Could their pace up top be the difference here?"

  58. Post update

    Stevenage 0-0 Southend United

    Phil Brown

    Another couple of chances come for Southend in quick succession when first Adam Barrett, a textbook brute of a lower-league defender, heads the ball well over the bar from a right-wing free-kick before David Worrall's cross-cum-shot goes wide.

    Phil Brown will be happy with his side's start.

  59. Post update

    Stevenage 0-0 Southend United

    That was a big chance for Southend's Michael Timlin.

    Shrimpers top scorer Barry Corr does brilliantly to hold off a Stevenage defender and lays it back to the onrushing midfielder, but he can only sidefoot the ball harmlessly wide. Bad miss and he knows it.

  60. Post update

    Stevenage 0-0 Southend United

    After that worrying moment, a slight bit of comedy when Southend defender Cian Bolger slips as he shepherds the ball out of play and falls into a camerawoman.

    Both are fine and she even raises a smile.

  61. Post update

    Stevenage 0-0 Southend United

    Nasty looking collision of heads between Roarie Deacon and David Worrall, leaving the Stevenage man needing treatment from the physio.

    I think he'll be OK.

  62. Post update

    Stevenage 0-0 Southend United

    Charlie Lee

    The first chance of the match comes for Stevenage after Roarie Deacon wins a corner down the left. Dean Wells' header causes chaos but Southend scramble it away for another corner, from which Charlie Lee sees a shot saved by Daniel Bentley.

  63. KICK-OFF

    Stevenage 0-0 Southend United

    Stevenage get us under way. The final Football League play-off semi-final first leg has begun.

  64. Teams are out

    Stevenage v Southend United (18:35 BST)

    Stevenage v Southend

    The teams are out in a bubbling Lamex Stadium. I wonder what's going through the players' minds right now. Nerves? Excitement? Or is it just another game for them?

    We're almost ready for kick-off!

  65. Southend's key man

    Stevenage v Southend United (18:35 BST)

    Daniel Bentley
  66. Mr Brown's Boys

    Stevenage v Southend United (18:35 BST)

    Phil Brown

    While Stevenage will be pleased to make it this far, Southend were on the cusp of avoiding the play-offs, but a last-day defeat at Morecambe allowed Bury to sneak in and take the final automatic play-off berth.

    That ended a remarkable seven-match winning run for the Shrimpers, and Phil Brown is urging his side not to still be licking their wounds at the Lamex tonight.

    "It was easy to pick people up after last weekend's defeat by Morecambe. It was a sickener but we were our own worst enemies. But we've moved on very quickly to focus on what we hope is now a three-game season," Brown told BBC Essex.

    "We've got to go to Stevenage and get a foothold in the tie. We'll be tested, there's no doubt about it.

    "I think Graham is a very clever man. He paints a picture of a strong, ugly, physical team. But I think deep down they play some good stuff."

  67. View from the press box

    Stevenage v Southend United (18:35 BST)

    Tom Garry

    BBC Sport at Lamex Stadium

    "A warm summer evening and the terraces are packed. There's a real anticipation in the air. Everything about the atmosphere here says play-offs!

    "The Southend faithful behind the goal are in fine voice, as are several clusters of the home fans. This should be tasty!"

  68. Stevenage's key man

    Stevenage v Southend United (18:35 BST)

    Charlie Lee
  69. What they say...

    Stevenage v Southend United (18:35 BST)

    Graham Westley

    Stevenage are looking for an immediate return to the third tier and finished sixth in League Two after suffering just two defeats since 7 February.

    And boss Graham Westley knows how tense the proverbial play-off "lottery" can be.

    "You have 180 minutes to earn a result in the play-off semi-finals, and they're not for the faint-hearted - it's about making sure you go into the second leg in the best shape possible," he told BBC Three Counties Radio.

    "Southend are a very, very good side, their recent form shows what they're capable of, they have a very experienced manager at the helm, and I'm sure they'll react to what happened to them last weekend in the best possible way.

    "Both sides have earned the right to be there and will be using everything in their power to get through to Wembley."

  70. Play-offs on BBC Sport

    Stevenage v Southend United (18:35 BST)

    BBC Sport

    Lamex Stadium

    Follow every kick of every Football League play-off match this season with BBC Sport - we have a live text commentary of all 15 matches, including the three finals at Wembley on 23-25 May.

  71. How they got here - Southend

    Stevenage v Southend United (18:35 BST)

    Southend's David Worrall against Northampton

    Southend really don't want to be in the play-offs. They could have gone up automatically on the final day after a stunning run of seven wins, but a 3-1 defeat at Morecambe, coupled with Bury's win at Tranmere, saw the Shakers take third spot.

    The Shrimpers' season started without much hoo-ha, winning only twice in six matches, but Southend grew into one of the fourth tier's most feared teams, especially at their Roots Hall home.

    Between 15 November and 14 February, when they lost 2-1 to Accrington, the Shrimpers did not concede a single goal at home.

    Goalkeeper Daniel Bentley missed the Stanley match, but came back to break a club record of home clean sheets - 12 in total - a run which could be extended by Thursday's second leg.

    At the other end, Barry Corr has been the man finding the goals - his 14 is eight more than any other Southend player.

  72. How they got here - Stevenage

    Stevenage v Southend United (18:35 BST)

    Simon Walton of Stevenage celebrates after scoring

    A sixth-placed finish is fine work for a season which began so badly for Stevenage.

    After losing at home to Luton on 4 October, Boro found themselves languishing in 19th place and staring directly in the face of a dreaded double relegation.

    But a run of six games unbeaten around Christmas, triggered by a 1-0 win over Exeter, ignited their season and they have only lost twice since a narrow defeat by Mansfield on 7 February.

    Charlie Lee has been their main man in terms of goals with nine, but the exciting young talents of Ben Kennedy and Tom Pett have very much impressed the Lamex faithful.

  73. Join the debate at #bbcfootball

    Stevenage v Southend United (18:35 BST)

    So what do you think then? Will Phil Brown have the chance to recreate some of those Wembley memories with Southend, or will the wily Westley get the better of him?

    You can have your say using #bbcfootball on Twitter.

  74. BreakingTeam news

    Stevenage v Southend United (18:35 BST)

    Stevenage rested many of their regulars for last week's loss at Luton, so it's no surprise they make sweeping changes, including the return of Chris Whelpdale up front.

    Also, note that back-up goalkeeper for Boro. Former Wimbledon goalkeeper Dave Beasant would become the oldest Football League player ever if he was to come off the bench, at the tender age of 56. I wasn't even born when he made his Football League debut in 1980.

    Meanwhile, Southend make two changes from last week's defeat at Morecambe, bringing back captain John White and Stephen McLaughlin for Gary Deegan and Jack Payne.

    Stevenage: Day, Whelpdale, Wells, Dembele (c), Okimo, Pett, Bond, Parrett, Deacon, Lee, Beardsley.

    Substitutes: Beasant, Ashton, Walton, Zola, Conlon, Kennedy, Martin.

    Southend: Bentley, White (c), Coker, Worrall, Timlin, Corr, Atkinson, Bolger, Leonard, McLaughlin, Barrett.

    Substitutes: Prosser, Weston, Smith, Payne, Deegan, Cassidy, Pigott.

  75. Familiar feeling x2

    Stevenage v Southend United (18:35 BST)

    .... And for his opposite number Phil Brown, the play-offs bring back memories of THAT Dean Windass goal for Hull against Bristol City in 2008, securing the Tigers a place in the Premier League for the first time in their history.

    Dean Windass and Phil Brown
  76. Familiar feeling

    Stevenage v Southend United (18:35 BST)

    It's safe to say that neither of these managers had the greatest of times at Deepdale, but both have been prudent enough to guide their current sides to the League Two play-offs.

    For Boro boss Graham Westley this is a well-trodden path, having guided Stevenage to victory in the 2011 final against Torquay at Old Trafford...

    Graham Westley celebrates 2011 play-off win
  77. For old time's sake

    Stevenage v Southend United (18:35 BST)

    Joe Garner scores as Preston beat Chesterfield

    So we have our first side through to a Football League play-off final this season - Preston - after they beat Chesterfield 3-0 earlier to earn a 4-0 aggregate victory and secure their place at League One's Wembley date on 24 May.

    Tonight two managers very familiar with Deepdale will be hoping to move a step closer to the League Two showpiece.

    Phil Brown, North End boss in 2011, takes his Southend side to Stevenage where he comes up against the man who replaced him at the Lancashire club, Graham Westley.

    Welcome to our live text of the first leg of Stevenage and Southend's League Two play-off semi-final.