Curtis double sees off Southend
The U's U21s have beaten Southend.
Wayne Brown's youngsters continued their pre-season on Tuesday afternoon with a 3-0 win over Essex neighbours Southend United.
Jack Curtis opened the scoring at Florence Park with a smart shot into the bottom corner on twelve minutes, before Courtney Senior clipped a clever second fourteen minutes later.
The second half was a quieter affair, but Curtis made it three on the hour mark when he shot home at the second attempt.
It was a win that the U’s youngsters deserved, and they were the team on the front foot from the start.
Only seconds into the game, Curtis’ shot failed to test the Southend keeper but the start was a taste of things to come.
Senior cut inside from his position on the right in the seventh minute, but was denied when his shot was saved.
The U’s opened the scoring five minutes later, when good link up play between Curtis and Senior resulted in the former through on the angle.
The keeper was out quickly to narrow the angle but Curtis remained calm and slotted his shot across goal and into the bottom corner.
At the other end on fourteen minutes, Dillon Barnes had to stretch to tip over from a free kick but it was the U’s who were asking the most questions.
Charlie Edge was next to try his luck but he was denied by a last ditch block as he got on the end of a Senior pull back.
On twenty eight minutes, Decarrey Sherriff found Senior just inside the box but there was still plenty to do for the tricky winger.
He did it though, dribbling past his marker before lifting a clever shot over the diving keeper and into the back of the net.
Going two goals behind did stir up the visitors, and they had the final two chances in the half.
First, Barnes made a routine save to keep out a back heeled effort and then watched a shot fly safely wide of his upright.
That was his last involvement, as he was replaced at the break by the U’s other up and coming keeper James Bransgrove.
Bransgrove wasn’t tested at all early in the second period, his only action was to organise his wall at a free kick, before seeing the set piece fly over the bar after a deflection off the wall he’d placed well.
Charlie Edge also hit the wall from a free kick, as both teams were finding clear cut chances harder to come by.
Long range efforts were tipped over by the Southend keeper before Curtis scored his second, and the ‘s third, on sixty minutes.
Senior showed his pace down the left, evading a lunge from a defender, before pulling the ball back for Curtis to take aim.
His first attempt was well saved but dropped straight back in front of him and he made no mistake with his second effort, drilling low past a couple of covering defenders.
Sherriff, who had worked tirelessly without too much reward, almost made it four a couple of minutes later but his curler was just past the angle of bar and post.
On sixty five minutes, Wayne Brown made the first few outfield substitutions, bringing on Dexter Peter, Diaz Wright and Tariq Issa.
George Elokobi, Jamie Harney and Decarrey Sherriff made way and they were followed by Courtney Senior, who was replaced by George Brown.
Brown was quickly in the action, and was unlucky to see his shot deflected just over the crossbar on seventy three minutes.
Bransgrove had to wait until the eighty second minute for his first meaningful touch, saving comfortably from a shot from the edge of the penalty area.
Curtis was looking for his hat-trick but blazed a free kick over the bar two minutes later from twenty yards out.
Ben Wyatt replaced Michael O’Donoghue seconds later but there was to be no more goalmouth action before the referee blew the final whistle.
In a game that was played at a high tempo, until the players tired towards the end, the young U’s came out on top as they wind up towards their league season proper.