Second-year scholar Dan Happe is hoping the O’s U18s can respond strongly to their FA Youth Cup defeat at Premier League side Leicester City this weekend.
The O’s fell to their first loss of the season at the King Power Stadium, losing out 3-1 on Wednesday night to end a unbeaten run which had spanned over 20 games.
Following the Youth cup defeat, Happe revealed that he felt the occasion got the better of the team but is now looking for the side to bounce back at Northampton Town in a bid to secure the Youth Alliance South East Division title before the Christmas break.
“It was a tough game and we didn’t come out of the blocks early enough. I think as a team we could have performed much better but I if I am honest the floodlights and the stadium got the better of us,” said Happe.
“Of course we are very proud to say we have played at the King Power against Premier League opposition, but it is something that we had prepared for over the best part of a month, so you would expect better than how we performed and it is a disappointing defeat if I am honest.
“We all took it with both hands playing in front of our friends and family but it is disappointing to have not met our own expectations.”
Despite creating several chances during the first half the O’s were unable to grab the first goal of the game against the Foxes, with Josh Koroma having an effort cleared off the line inside the opening 10 minutes. Had that chance been converted Happe explained that it could have proved to be a different game from that point.
“We went in to the game with confidence and had Josh’s effort not been cleared off the line if could have been a completely different game.
“It would have given us something to build on and we would have had a different gameplan from that point onwards.”
It was Leicester who broke the deadlock prior to the interval however, with Layton Ndukwu’s close range finish proving the difference at the break, and although the O’s conceded further goals from Ethan Hodby and Keirnan Dewsbury-Hall, Richard Thomas’ side were able to pull a goal back in stoppage time through top scorer Tristan Abrahams.
“When we went in at half time the message was to keep on going and see if we can start the second half well.
“Defensively I would say we performed ok, but probably dropped too deep at times which left a lot of space in midfield and consequently gave them time on the ball to build up momentum when coming forwards,” explained Happe.
“At the end of the day Leicester were the better side and we were unable to get up to the pace of the game. That will only come with time however and it is now important that we bounce back strongly on Saturday.
“As a whole the season has been brilliant so far and if we can secure the league title it will bring some positivity to the camp and we can push on from there.”