Coach unhappy with conceding from set pieces against the Grecians.
Southend United U18s coach Dave Huzzey cited ill-discipline for the team’s 4-1 defeat at Exeter City on Saturday afternoon.
Blues conceded three goals from corners and left themselves with too much to do in the second period after trailing 3-0 at the break and, despite Ross Johnson’s consolation penalty, they were further hindered by the dismissal of second-year scholar Jordan Williams just before the hour mark.
“I don’t feel sorry for the boys,” declared Huzzey. “I think they cost themselves the match today, and the biggest thing for me would be ill -discipline. It’s easy just to look at the Jordan Williams situation, but I’m not just talking about that.
“I’m talking about set-plays and marking; we conceded three off set-plays today, which we don’t do. We’re normally organised. Individuals have been told that they lost their man at those, and that’s all we can do. We dug ourselves a hole that we couldn’t get out of.”
Again Huzzey felt that conceding the first goal had a big impact on the final scoreline, especially since he had seen his own team spurn a number of opportunities before the Grecians’ 21st-minute opener: “I look at the chances we’ve had before that goal; we’ve had a one-on-one, Freddie Gard has had two strikes at scoring and a couple more,” he said.
“I counted four chances - two clear-cut - before Exeter scored. I’ve said to the defenders that they can’t look at the forwards until they stop conceding, but looking at it today, those chances had to be taken. If everyone does their jobs right, then we’re in the lead, and with this team goals are so important.
“If we get a goal, then we’re flying, but when we concede a goal, heads drop, so we need to balance that out. We didn’t score, then they scored and heads dropped, and then they scored another one and then they got the third, and we were completely out of the game.
“I said to the boys at half-time that we lost two players completely out of the game after they scored the third because they were rowing, and we can’t do that. That’s why we’ve conceded seven at Peterborough and seven at Watford,” he added.
Even with a three goal deficit to overcome, Huzzey believed did improve after half-time, and if they had snatched a second goal while they were on top, the youth team coach felt that they could even have got something from a positive second period.
“Did I get a reaction at half-time? Yes, definitely, and we went and scored a goal. We were really on top and I thought we were going to score the next goal, but Jordan’s ill-discipline has showed. I’m really disappointed in him because I’ve not seen that too much in him. I know the boy threw the ball at him, but that’s going to happen game-in, game-out in the league, and he has to deal with those things better. Ill-discipline killed us.
“I’m trying to take the positives out of the experience after travelling yesterday and staying overnight. There were loads of positives there, and at 3-0 down we had a real good go, and at 3-1 down we had an even better go and we were really in the game.
“If we’d’ve got the next goal, it’d’ve been really interesting then to see we’re we’d’ve got to. Even after Jordan was sent off we had some chances to score; we were pushing and really trying, and that is a massive positive because in past games we’ve thrown the towel in and that had to stop. Even at 4-1 we created some chances,” he claimed.
And, even though Blues returned from their overnight stay in Devon with little to show for their endeavours on the pitch, Huzzey firmly believed that the trip was a worthwhile experience for the entire squad and the coaching staff.
“It’s hard, because you’re assessing it just after a game that you’ve lost 4-1, but I can see the positives. We travelled down yesterday and stayed in a hotel last night and the boys were brilliant. They were really professional and they did everything right.
“It was a really good for the coaches. We each did a Powerpoint presentation, including myself, on how we want to take the Academy forwards and we brought up some really good points that we shared with each other. That was a massive positive from the weekend.
“The boys were professional this morning; we did our meeting and had breakfast and then travelled to the game. It’s hard to review it all now after losing 4-1 to Exeter, but overall there are some positives there from the weekend. However, the performance and the ill-discipline that we showed is really frustrating,” he concluded.