Southend United U18s suffered a narrow 5-4 defeat to Colchester United in an action packed friendly on Saturday.
Colchester took a 3-2 to first half lead at Boots and Laces before Blues pulled level after the break through Mitchell Pinnock.
The U’s then moved 5-3 up via Jack Curtis and Nnamdi Nwachuku before Pinnock added his second from the penalty spot in an eventful 90 minutes of football.
And Southend Head of Youth Ricky Duncan was pleased with the competitiveness of his squad compared to the U’s.
“That was a very strong Colchester side who are top of a Category Two division, so it was a good test for us,” said Duncan who’s own Academy have attained Category Three status.
“We stood up to them, even though we had a few players missing and chose to rest a couple of others, but the lads have done well and we’re happy with the work-out.”
Colchester took the lead after 15 minutes through Nnamdi Nwachuku who converted with a mid-air back heel following a cross from Jack Curtis.
Three minutes later and the U’s had made it 2-0 after Toby Blanche cut out Josh Banton’s pass to enable Nwachuku to add his second of the day.
Southend cut Colchester back in the 22nd minute through Shamir Mullings who held off Billy Roast to convert Kojo Apenlenu’s through ball.
However, ten minutes later Colchester had restored their two goal advantage when Blanche fired home Jack Simmonds cross before the Blues responded in quick fashion via Jack Payne after he responded first to Mitchell Pinnock’s parried free-kick in the 36th minute.
Southend made things all square after the half-time break when Pinnock scored his second of the afternoon after side footing Marlon Agykawa’s deflected free-kick home in the 58th minute.
That lasted 11 minutes before Colchester were back in front once more when Curtis drove Simmonds centre through Ted Smith to make it 4-3 before Colchester again restored their two goal advantage.
Nwachuku picked out Blanche with a pass allowing the U’s forward to score his second of the afternoon from 12-yards.
Five minutes later Blanche then turned from hero to zero after he was sent off for using foul and abusive language in the aftermath of Colchester’s Frankie Kent bringing down Southend’s Jack Edwards to concede a penalty.
Mitchell Pinnock slammed the spot kick into the top left-hand corner of the net to make it 5-4 but despite Blues efforts they were unable to grab an equaliser in the final eight minutes.
Southend United U18s: Smith, King, Farrell, Barlow (Coker 72), Banton, Snook (Jeffery 83), Agyakwa (Edwards 59), Apenlenu (Williams 65), Mullings, Payne (Bridge 49), Pinnock.