SOUTHEND United coach Kevin Maher heaped praise on his under-23 side following their 2-2 draw at local rivals Colchester United.

Norman Wabo and Renei Batlokwa were both on target for Blues in the second half at Florence Park.

And Maher was happy with how his team acquitted themselves against more senior opposition.

“I thought it was a good result and a good performance against a strong Colchester side,” said Maher.

“Colchester had seven or eight seniors playing, but we did well and I was happy with how we reacted to going a goal down.

“We could have gone under and let in a couple more, but we fought back well to take the lead.”

Tommy Sullivan fired the home side in front before Wabo levelled with 12 minutes to go when he broke in from the right and slammed home a shot that flew in off the woodwork.

Moments later, Batlokwa’s powerful effort put Blues in front but, with four minutes remaining, Nicke Kabamba guided home a fine header from Will Wright’s deflected ball to ensure the Central League Cup clash ended all square.

But Maher was full of praise for both of Blues’ goalscorers.

“Norman has that knack of being in the right place at the right time and he took his goal well again,” said Maher.

“Renei also has the ability to get goals so it was pleasing to see him score as well.”

Southend United: Bishop, Clifford, Cuthbert, Nelson, Cotton, Batlokwa, Bridge, Pianim, Clark, Phillips, Wabo Subs not used: Acquah, Seaden, Kinali, Humphreys & Benton