Coach pleased to see his side get what they deserved against Stevenage.
Youth team coach Dave Huzzey was happy to see Southend United U18s finally earn some reward from a Football League Youth Alliance Merit League One fixture after falling behind as they claimed a 1-1 draw against Stevenage.
Dan Walker secured a point for the teenage Blues with a last-minute strike from the edge of the penalty area after Jack Storer had put the visitors in front just before the hour mark, and Huzzey was happy with the reaction of the team to adversity.
“I think if you look at our stats from this season, we haven’t come from behind and got something from the game in a very, very long time, and we’ve hardly done it at all, which has been really disappointing because it is a mindset more than anything when you go a goal down," he said.
"When you go a goal down and you’re playing well, then nothing should change and you should carry on and try to win the game. It’s been a big thing for us going a goal down, and it’s a big thing to get something from this game, so I really am pleased for the boys.”
Huzzey even felt that, had the game continued for another five minutes, they may have snatched a victory from the encounter such was the way that they piled pressure on in the closing stages: “We looked like we were really going to kick on and make sure we got something from the game, which we did, and we deserved to,” he claimed.
“The second half had to be open because they scored the goal and what had made it so tight in the first half was that there were two teams who really didn’t want to concede. When we conceded, we then had to go for it and it’s credit to our forward players that we exploited them when they sat deep.
“We used some good movement to get in, and there was some good football played so that the longer the game went on, the more likely it was that we would score and I’m glad we did in the end after about three or four chances. Finally Dan Walker connected well enough and it beat the ‘keeper, but it was definitely a game of two halves. The second half was open and, after we scored our goal, it was really open.
“They thought they could win it, and we thought we could win it, and maybe that’s where game-management and a little bit more discipline is needed from the boys to say that Josh Bexon doesn’t need to play it straight into forward and maybe we should slow it down to get a draw from the game,” he added.
The game had started in heavy rain, and Huzzey felt that it was important that Southend put in some groundwork in the first half to ensure that they had a chance to get something from the fixture in the second period.
“It was another scrappy game. The weather conditions didn’t help, and it was another League Two-type of game where both sides really wanted to win the game. It was quite a scrappy affair, and no-one really took charge of the game, which we have had an inconsistency in doing,” he admitted.
“We needed to make sure that we had a foothold in the game and in the first half we did; we were solid at the back and we were quite disciplined. We threatened a few times in behind, but not enough; we weren’t positive enough in the final third, but then in the second half they took the lead. I thought it was a foul on Renei Batlokwa and then the ref got in the way, which was unfortunate, but the boy took it well and it was a good reaction from us.”
Despite that reaction, Southend were indebted to goalkeeper Josh Bexon, particularly for one outstanding save with eleven minutes remaining that kept the hosts in contention. Having done so, and claimed a share of the spoils from the clash, Blues now head to Portsmouth for their final match of 2014/15 next Saturday in good spirits.
"Josh made one outstanding save with his right hand from a left-sided volley that was exceptional. We know Josh is capable of doing that, and on tour in the last week he’s done that. However, we shouldn’t be putting him in that situation; we had changed to a 3-5-2 and there was some space out wide where players weren’t tracking and were too busy thinking about going to get the equaliser that they were not worried enough about conceding a goal that would put us out of the game.
“We’ve got to go down to Portsmouth; we’ve not played them for a while now. They were in our league last season but they weren’t in our section in the first part of this year. They are always good games between us and Portsmouth, and I remember the 3-3 here when we were 3-0 up, so it is always a good game and it’s always quite open.
"If we can take the positives out of the first half of this game, which was a really disciplined performance, being really tight and achieving some of the challenges we asked of the boys, and then show good desire even if we do go a goal down, then I think we’ll be fine,” he concluded.