Huzzey pleased though as 100% away record continues.
Dave Huzzey is still striving for more from his Southend United U18s squad after they continued their 100% record away from home at Dagenham & Redbridge on Saturday morning.
Blues made it six wins from six games on the road, with the last three coming back-to-back during the past week, after a 4-2 triumph at Old Parkonians FC thanks to a dominant first half display. Captain Sonny Coutts and Dan Walker got themselves on the scoresheet, with Norman Wabo’s brace ensuring Southend led 4-0 at half-time.
Daggers pulled a couple of goals back during the second period, but Huzzey believed that, despite seeing the advantage halved after the interval, his squad had learnt some lessons from the midweek performance at Cambridge United, when the U’s had also scored twice during the second half to make for an anxious conclusion to the game.
“I’m really pleased with the first half performance, scoring four goals and, no disrespect to Dagenham, but we could’ve scored more in the first half,” he said. “I’m a little bit disappointed in the second half after conceding two goals and I think it was a patchy second half.”
“I think Dan Walker missed two or three chances and Norman Wabo missed a couple of chances and Imani Matthews missed a few, and we should’ve really kicked on and got five, six, seven or maybe more. The difference between Cambridge and Dagenham was that we created five or six chances in the second half of the game here, whereas at Cambridge we didn’t do that.
“At Cambridge we got our three goals and that was it, there was no more to come from us, whereas in there were always goals in this game. Even in the second half, unfortunately we didn’t convert them but we created five, six or seven chances and out of those seven, I’d say four were clear-cut, especially Dan Walker at the far post. I felt he should’ve scored that,” he added.
Huzzey was happy to see the Shrimpers create numerous opportunities throughout the ninety minutes, but he felt some frustration with the way in which the game tailed away during the final half-an-hour, with the youth team coach identifying a scrap following an altercation between Tom Clifford and Daggers winger Eric Swonoco as an influential moment in the contest.
“No disrespect to our opponents, but we could’ve scored more goals in that first half. Myself and Kevin [Maher] were talking about it in the first half, and we had a feeling we were going to score from a set-play and for the first goal Abdul got up really well and Sonny Coutts finished it, which was brilliant for those two coming back into the side after having a rest at Cambridge,” he opined.
“We missed a few chances in that first half and, although we’d scored four, in the second half we needed to be a lot better. We haven’t done it this season, and I’m surprised because I really do think this group of players can do it. We’ve got goals in us, we’ve got combination play and defensive skills, so we’ve got qualities all over the pitch, but we’ve not kicked on after getting three or four goals.
“I’m disappointed we haven’t done that. We allowed Dagenham in a little bit in the second half and, from a professionalism perspective, we shouldn’t’ve done that. There was something in the game that upset me when there was a bit of a row and a scuffle, and that set a tempo to the game a little bit.
“We didn’t need to get involved in that, but we did, and I think that was the reason why we went down a couple of levels. It was a bitty half, a nearly half and not a lot happened. We nearly scored, and they nearly got in a few times, but the game passed us by a little bit,” Huzzey lamented.
However, the coach was delighted to keep up the pressure on league leaders Luton Town, who saw their advantage at the top of the Football League Youth Alliance South East Conference cut to just one point once again. Blues can now head into twin knockout clashes, against AFC Bournemouth in the Youth Alliance Cup and Barton Rovers in The FA Youth Cup, with confidence that they are in fine form.
“We sat the boys down after the Luton game and said they’ve won the first eight games, then lost and won against Barnet and lost against Luton, so now we needed to put another run together, and they’re good enough to do it to get as high as we can before the Youth Alliance Cup and The FA Youth Cup. We wanted to get as close as we could to Luton, and then we could forget about the league for a couple of games.
“They’ve done that, and they’ve done that convincingly with their performances, and especially their first-half performances. We’ve won those three games consecutively and we go into Bournemouth, who will be a different test. We don’t know much about them, so we’ll have to watch a few videos this week and come up with that we’re going to do against them ahead of The FA Youth Cup.
“The pleasing thing for me is that none of the boys are talking about The FA Youth Cup, and that’s what we want. We want them to concentrate on the next game, and Bournemouth’s our next game, so we’ll be making sure that they’re concentrating on that to try to get through to the next round,” Huzzey concluded.