Blues out of The FA Youth Cup after 6-0 defeat to Leyton Orient at Roots Hall...Southend United’s youth team coach Dave Huzzey was honest in his assessment of the club’s 6-0 FA Youth Cup defeat to Leyton Orient at Roots Hall on Wednesday.
“I’m angry, frustrated and disappointed,” he declared shortly after the final whistle. “I didn’t see it coming. We prepared in the way we prepare for every FA Youth Cup game, and for every game, and I’m disappointed that the boys didn’t have the right mentality. They looked scared and I thought the occasion overcame them completely today.”
Blues ran into an excellent Orient side, who recorded a 14th straight victory from the start of the 2016/17 campaign thanks to braces by Tristan Abrahams and Sam Dalby, plus further efforts from Josh Koroma and Ruel Sotiriou. Southend threatened briefly in the opening period after falling 2-0 down, and battled hard to maintain second half parity for 40 minutes, but Huzzey felt the occasion got to his squad.
“It was a factor, but if that’s going to affect them at 17- or 18-years-old, it’s going to affect them at 20-years-old as well when they’re trying to break into our first-team so we won’t use that as an excuse, but it did play a factor in the result and in the performance. I just expected better from this group of players,” he stated.
“For the last two weeks we’ve done really well, beating Reading twice and beating Gillingham at the weekend when we rested a few players to come and play in this tie, and they didn’t pull through for us today, and that’s a shame because the likes of Yonis Farah, Dan Humphreys and Emile Acquah - even Imani Matthews and Eren Kinali - have been left out today and the other boys haven’t competed.”
Despite his obvious disappointment, Huzzey paid credit to the visitors, of whom he predicted an extended run in this season’s FA Youth Cup. Blues now turn their own attentions to league football, with the aim of reaching Merit League One after Christmas, although Huzzey and the squad would have dearly loved knockout success.
“I take nothing away from Orient. We were poor, but I think they’re the best side we’ve played this year. I thought that when they beat us 2-1 – they were brilliant and they could’ve scored more – but tonight they had some really good individual players and I think they’ll go really far in the competition, so I won’t take anything away from them,” he said.
“The occasion obviously affected us, but more than anything I’m just disappointed in the boys’ mind-sets and attitude and the way they went about themselves in the first 10 or 15 minutes of the game. We were under a bit of pressure and we started getting ourselves back into the game and then they scored.”
“It was a poor decision from Tom Clifford, heading back inside and then the boy scored, and you can’t give attacking players like that the chances that we gave them. It means a lot to me, and it means a lot to all the boys in the changing room, but we’re out, and they’ve got to pick themselves up.”
“We’ve got AFC Wimbledon at the weekend; when we set out targets at the start of the year, they were to get further in The FA Youth Cup and we’ve failed on that one, but the one thing we won’t fail on is getting into the top Merit League.”
“We’ve got a massive game at the weekend, and we’ll now see the characters that can pick themselves up and can put in a performance and reaction against AFC Wimbledon,” Huzzey concluded.