Huzzey happy with 'brilliant' Blues performance against Stevenage.
Youth team coach Dave Huzzey was happy with the way his team handled the challenges posed by Stevenage on Saturday morning as they recorded a 2-0 victory.
A goal in each half by Norman Wabo earned Blues a maximum haul of points for the second successive weekend despite a fractious start to the encounter that led to the referee speaking to both benches in an attempt to calm the situation down. Huzzey felt that the manner in which his side managed to combat this and play their natural game was worthy of praise.
“I’m really happy for the boys today; they got what they deserved,” he said. “At one point, it may not have looked that way; Stevenage interrupted the game with a lot of arguments and fouls and I was worried that it might’ve taken us away from what we’re good at.
“This team need to get the ball on the floor and pass it because that’s how they work, and because it got interrupted I wondered how we were going to get back into it, but I thought they were brilliant with the way they got back into the game after all the stoppages and the rows and the tackles, and they played their football. I think the quality came to the top in the end.
“It’s a brilliant learning curve for these boys and it’s exactly what they need in a way. I don’t like to see that on a football pitch, but sometimes that’s what happens and sometimes they don’t get to experience that in youth football because it’s not as competitive as we’d like it to be.
“That was certainly how much we’d like it to be competitive-wise, but it was too much and they went overboard a little bit and I’m not afraid to say that. The boys showed intelligence to work their way around it and not make it a physical battle and not make it a row.
“They were strong when they needed to be and they competed when they needed to compete, but then they showed their quality on the ball and played through the thirds and played out from the back like our philosophy says. I’m really pleased with the way they coped with the physical demands and all the other stuff around the game, but also carried on playing their stuff.”
Huzzey believed that the experienced core of the team was integral to emerging triumphant, singling out midfielders Joe Bedford and Harry Phillips in particular for the manner in which they conducted themselves throughout the encounter: “I think the key moment was when we worked out that we could still play our football.” he claimed.
“After the long stoppage and the rowing, we were expecting them to come straight through us and we were a bit worried about that, but I’ve just told Joe Bedford that I thought he was magnificent today. Because he relaxed on the ball and had an extra touch, and he wasn’t getting smashed because his touches were in the right areas, it relaxed the whole team.
“I also thought that Harry Phillips had his best game in a Southend shirt because everything that is not his strength was a strength today: the battling, the working hard, the pressing and getting back into shape, and in the end he got his reward with the football that he played and the passing game that he loves. So that knowledge to still play the game that we know we can play was brilliant.
“Josh Bexon has become a massive leader in the side, and that’s what we need; Abdul Salami has been brilliant, then you’ve got Joe Bedford, Harry Phillips and Norman Wabo who also played really well today. Norman worked so hard. The second-years were brilliant today, and they’ve been brilliant all week.
“I’m not sure what would’ve happened last year after that period of play because we had good players but they were different to what we’ve got now. The discipline of the second-years, from Josh, Abdul, Joe, Harry and Wabz, rubbed off on all the others. They kept their heads and played a massive part,” he added.
Blues have a sharp turnaround with another fixture on Tuesday afternoon against Leyton Orient. Playing Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday will replicate the situation the scholars will find themselves in should they earn a professional contract with the club, and Huzzey is excited about the prospect of taking on Orient and then travelling to Northampton Town later this week.
“I went to watch Leyton Orient vs Northampton on Friday and Orient are a big, physical side that can play, and I was really impressed by them. I’ve told the boys not to get carried away because the next game is on Tuesday and you’ve got to win the next one and you’ve got to be better in the next one. I think we can do that.
“It will be a different test because I think Leyton Orient will play more football; they will be physical in a different way and I’m looking forward to it, and I think the boys are. These boys won’t take their foot off the pedal because we won’t allow them to, so they have to be on it every week and every day in training, and they’ve reacted really well to that,” he concluded.