SOUTHEND United’s under 18 side continued their unbeaten start to the Youth Alliance Merit League One season with a 1-1 draw against Exeter City.

Skipper Sam Knock headed the Shrimpers in front midway through the first half, only for Nelson Iseguan to secure a share of the spoils for the Grecians at Boots & Laces.

Blues wasted a fine late chance to bag all three points with Freddy Eastwood failing to score from the penalty spot.

But Shrimpers coach Dave Huzzey was still pleased with his side’s performance.

“Exeter are a strong team and they beat us in the area cup final not so long ago but we put in another good display to get a point,” said Huzzey.

“It’s not a bad result against them and we actually had the better of the chances to get all three points.

“Exeter had their own spell of pressure after they scored and we did well to see that out.

“But obviously we had the missed penalty and a few other opportunities we could maybe have done more with.

“But we’re still unbeaten in this league and we’re second in the table so that’s a big positive.”

And Huzzey was also pleased to see midfielder Oli Coker made a successful step up from the under 16s.

“We try to give some of the younger players an opportunity to experience under 18s football in this part of the season and it was good to see Oli coming in and doing well,” said Huzzey.

“I thought he played really well in there.”

Blues came close to taking an early lead when Ide Osimeh’s header from Eastwood’s corner was well saved by City custodian Felix Norman.

But the Shrimpers were able to break the deadlock in the 23rd minute when a driven Terrell Egbri free-kick was nodded back across goal by Miles Mitchell-Nelson and Knock arrived with a diving header to score.

However, Exeter equalised just two minutes later when Iseguan rifled the ball into the far corner to leave Blues’ goalkeeper Harry Seaden with no chance.

Seaden then did well to deny the Grecians twice in quick succession before Blues wasted a golden chance to go back in front 11 minutes from time when Eastwood fired a penalty over the crossbar.

Southend United U18s: Seaden, Dabbs, Osimeh, Brogan, Knock, Mitchell-Nelson, Egbri, Coker Bragg,78), Mpenga, Black (Vaivada 60), Eastwood.

Subs not used: Grossart, Lambourne & Wallace.