Blues fans were treated to an entertaining evening of football as Southend opened up their Checkatrade Trophy account with a 3-1 win against Cambridge United at Roots Hall.
Chris Powell’s side went behind early in the second-half through Reggie Lamb before a double from Shawn McCoulsky and a debut goal for 18-year-old Isaac Hutchinson rounded off the win.
And after the game, the Blues boss gave his thoughts on the evening before addressing the selection headaches he’s got between now and the visit of Peterborough on Saturday.
On the Cambridge win…
It’s always tough when you put quite a few different players together and they haven’t even had a practice game, just training, and sometimes it can fall a bit flat and I just said to them we need to get to grips with it.
I think there were a bit of nerves in the first 15-20 minutes but then after that, I thought some of our play was really good and I think we could have gone in at half-time a goal or two up. It didn’t happen and then we found ourselves a goal down, but as I said to them it’s real character and resilience [to come back].
All three goals were great. Excellent first goal, good movement, Harry Bunn and Simon Cox were very instrumental this evening and Shawn McCoulsky is a goal-getter, he gets in the box, he just wants service and his second goal was outstanding.
The icing on the cake really was young Isaac [Hutchinson] coming on and scoring within two minutes, so really pleased for him, and pleased for everyone involved because the young players, they want to do well and they certainly all did tonight.
On blooding the youngsters…
A few weeks back I was thinking I wanted this game after Peterborough just to give us a bit more of a rest and obviously, the international boys would come back. But after a while I just said we’ve got to attack it in the right way, prepare in the right way and give some players the chance.
Elvis [Bwomono] is almost an old stager now because he’s played a number of games. I thought Michael Klass and Renei [Batlokwa] were really good and Taylor Moore, he’s come in and doesn’t know anyone and it’s like he’s been here for a long time.
I didn’t even mention Nathan Bishop; any other position on the pitch for a debut is OK, but a goalkeeper is always very tough and he acquitted himself really well.
They [Cambridge] were relatively strong and it was almost the team they played at the weekend so that’s testament to the boys that came in and acquitted themselves really well, and everyone will go home happy seeing a well-rounded performance and three really good goals.
On the goalkeeping situation…
Big decision with regards to that. Not only for Saturday but for the next three weeks as we don’t have any midweeks, so it’s going to be a long time for Michael Kightly and Mark Oxley.
I don’t want to get carried away because Bish is a young keeper who we want to nurture well. We want to make sure that we do the right things by him. He’s got really good temperament, it’s like he’s played 200 games and he’s got a really good career ahead of him.
It’s something we do well here with young goalkeepers. We’ve got Ted Smith making his way back, looking strong day by day so we’ll see. I’ll do the right thing for Southend United.