Under-18s | Colchester 1-0 Watford
David Horseman’s Under-18s fell to a frustrating defeat against Colchester United on Saturday morning (Feb 25).
A late first-half goal from the hosts proved to be the winner, but Watford did create chances of their own notably through Max Ryan and Jubril Adedeji.
Within a minute of the first-half the Hornets fashioned an excellent opportunity to take the lead. Ryan broke forward following a knock-on and smashed a powerful effort at goal which was tipped over by the keeper.
The U’s grew into the game and goalkeeper Nathan Gartside was forced into a number of impressive saves, most notably with his legs to deny a deflected strike from a free-kick, before the rebound was smashed over from in front of goal.
The hosts should have been ahead two minutes later but scuffed their lines from a yard in front of goal, following a great pull-back into the box.
Just past the half-hour mark David Sesay broke forward and saw his left-footed shot towards the bottom corner tipped wide.
But soon after Colchester were in front. The ball was tucked in behind the defence, allowing front-man Ryan Clampin to race through and slide his shot into the bottom corner past Gartside who could do little.
Sesay tried his luck again in what was the last chance of the half, but his shot from the right hit the side-netting.
Ryan impressed and created the first real opening of the second-half for the Hornets as he saw his shot from outside the box saved.
He was involved again soon after as he knocked the ball down to Reece Stray, but the midfielder failed to keep his shot down.
The upright came to the U’s rescue as the half approached an end. Adedeji turned inside the box and unleashed a shot at goal which deflected off a defender onto the near side post.
There would be one final chance for the Hornets to draw level, but Huja headed over Josh Roe’s brilliant corner when well positioned.
Horseman was frustrated at full-time, explaining that his side’s performance was not up to scratch.
“We had chances, but we gave too many away. Overall it was way below the standards Watford would expect,” he stated, speaking exclusively to watfordfc.com.
“They were better than us today both as a team and individually. It’s really disappointing because that’s probably the oldest side we’ve had out this season. It hurts right now, in the first-half we gave the ball away under no pressure and we didn’t really have any quality around the box to open them up.
“The boys have to look at themselves after today. With decisions coming up you start to see a change in players, but they need each other as a group and I thought a few were a bit selfish today.
“We understand they’re under so much pressure and that usually affects them negatively, but they’re great kids and I understand how difficult it is for them.
“Today has come as a bit of a shock though as they trained really well this week, but fair play to Colchester who played well. We’ll analyse and go over the video and refocus on making sure we’re all on the same page.”
HORNETS: Gartside (c) (GK); Sesay, Huja, Kaika (Gordon, 45), Rogers; Forster (Stray, 45), Roe, Charles (Johnson, 45), Ryan, Cruz Cabrera; Adedeji.
Subs not used: Lacy (GK), Tricker.