Spa Road loss for U's.
The U’s development squad suffered defeat at Witham Town on Tuesday evening.
Richard Hall’s side went down 4-1, with triallist Jackson Ramm scoring what was a consolation goal in the second half.
Ramm was one of three youngsters hoping to impress, with defender Jerome Okimo and midfielder Merrick James-Lewis also looking for a U's contract.
They were already four goals behind by the time that Ramm notched, with the home side scoring three times in the first half before adding another nine minutes into the second.
Goals came early in this first game for the U’s U21s side, with the Spa Road outfit quickly out of the blocks against their young opponents.
It only took them three minutes to open the scoring, with Shaun Phillips given no chance as a long range effort flew into the top corner from a shot rifled in from long range.
On six minutes, Witham doubled their lead, with their left winger turning from scorer to provider, crossing for his centre forward to head home from six yards out.
The young U’s were struggling to get a grip in the game and it took them until the twelfth minute to mount their first attack, with Bradley Hamilton shooting over from distance.
Two minutes later, Tosin Olufemi also tried his luck from outside the box, his effort having to be tipped over by the home keeper.
The Witham stopper was in action again shortly after, comfortably saving Freddie Ladapo’s effort on the turn as the U’s tried to get back into the match.
Ladapo just failed to reach a Tom Bender cross that whipped low into the box before the keeper collected.
There was another set back just before the half hour mark, as Witham went three ahead, with a second goal for the elusive left winger.
Good play on the right set him up but there was still plenty to do, controlling well before shooting low into the corner, past Phillips’ right hand.
At the other end, Olufemi almost reduced the arrears a minute later, but his effort was deflected over the bar.
The home side continued to put pressure on the U’s defence, who had Phillips to thank for keeping the score at three on thirty two minutes.
A free kick from the right was allowed to make its way into the danger area and when the close range effort came in, Phillips make a superb reaction save to keep the ball out.
The U’s ended the half on the attack but despite creating a few chances, they couldn’t convert them to give themselves a lift before half time.
Hamilton shot over the bar, while Drew Wright, Jackson Ramm and Freddie Ladapo were all denied by low saves by the Witham keeper.
And it was the U’s who had the first chance of the second period, Hamilton being the latest to find the keeper in the way.
That came on fifty two minutes and two minutes later, the U’s found themselves four goals behind, as a firm shot beat Phillips, despite the young stopper getting something on the shot before it went under him.
It only took the U’s four minutes to respond though, as Ramm scored from close range after Olufemi and Ladapo had caused problems for the home defence.
Richard Hall made two substitutions in quick succession either side of the hour mark, bringing on Billy Roast and Nnamdi Nwachuku.
Phillips was still being kept busy in the final quarter of the game, saving with his legs before the U’s once again finished the half in the opposition’s half.
Ramm was denied a second by a clearance off the line and Nwachuku shot wide after being found with a good through ball from James-Lewis.
In the last minute, Alex Gilbey, who was skippering the development side, shot over the bar and seconds later, the whistle went on a useful exercise for the young U’s.
Most of the youngsters got ninety minutes under their belts for the first time during the pre-season build up and will be taking on Brentwood on Saturday in their next fixture.
U’s: Phillips, Ramm, Aldred, Bender, Okimo (Roast 60), Gilbey, Hamilton, James-Lewis, Wright, Olufemi, Ladapo (Nwachuku 62).
Subs not used: Brown, Mafuta, Blanche, Simmons