Dave Huzzey reflects on narrow defeat as Blues' three-game winning run comes to an end
Youth team coach Dave Huzzey felt that Southend United were the better team in their last U18s match against Luton Town, despite losing 1-0 to the Hatters at Boots & Laces.
Blues were defeated by Geo Craig’s eleventh-minute strike but Huzzey was pleased with the level of performance from the squad, who created numerous opportunities throughout a fascinating contest, even after Brandon Scott’s dismissal nine minutes from the end.
“It was a really good performance,” he said. “It’s hard, because we always talk about these games when we play well and lose from the perspective of the performance, and we are disappointed with the result. The boys should be disappointed, and we do have to find a way to win these games when it’s tough.
“We had all the possession today. I’d say, out of 90 minutes we spent 75 in their half and the second half was really one-sided, so I’m happy with the performance but disappointed with the result,” he added.
The winning goal came during a period of dominance for Blues, and Huzzey admitted that the team had to work hard to concentrate when they are on top to ensure that they record the best possible results. He also praised the role of the Luton goalkeeper in preventing the teenage Shrimpers from levelling later in the game.
“You have to give credit to Luton because they scored a good goal; the boy took it really well on the edge of the penalty box and it beat Josh at his near post, but that’s football and it’s a part of their development that the boys have got to learn,” he claimed.
“They played really well and conceded a goal during a spell like that when we had all the play. They have to get better at that because, although I felt we had all the play, Luton did break away and scored, so defensively we have to make sure we are switched on for the full 90 minutes.
“Their goalkeeper has made three or four excellent saves, but I still don’t think we tested him enough because, for the possession we had, we could’ve got a few more shots off. When he was called into action, the saves he made - especially the one from Brandon, which I thought was going to beat him - were brilliant. Fair play to him, but maybe we could have been a little more clinical.”
Huzzey believed that frustration played a part in the dismissal of Scott for receiving two yellow cards in the match, although he added that Friday night’s mouth-watering FA Youth Cup Third Round tie against Middlesbrough at Roots Hall will offer the best possible opportunity for the squad to refocus this week.
“We are disappointed with Brandon because from outside he’s come inside, which he does quite a lot, and then he takes a lot of touches when he can beat players on the outside all day long. That’s what he’s best at, so when he comes inside, at times he gets a little bit untidy and that’s why he’s committed the foul. I think he’s frustrated himself, and that’s something he’ll have to bounce back from.
“However, I’m happy with the performance generally, and I think it does set the boys up for the Middlesbrough game. They know how good the performance was and how well they played today, and they might not admit that yet because of the result but, as the week goes on, we’ll reflect on this game and the performance we put in and we’ll look forward to giving the best account of ourselves against Middlesbrough,” he concluded.