LEE Connor hailed Luke Jackson after the 17-year-old marked his full Basildon United debut with a goal in the thrilling 5-3 Isthmian League Cup win over Canvey Island.

Jackson was rewarded for his effort in training by being included by caretaker manager Connor in the Bees’ starting line-up.

And Connor was pleased to see the promising teenager take his opportunity with both hands.

Connor said: “I was really pleased for Luke.

“I wanted to give him a start because he has been in and around the first team for two years.

“He has got 10 minutes here and there but he has been training hard and deserved his chance.

“Luke has done really well for the under-18s and, having scored one, he could have got another goal.

“I’m really proud of him and hopefully he will keep working hard.

“The goal will give him lots of confidence and he is a very good player with a bright future ahead of him.”

Louis Young was also involved from the start of the derby at the Cousins Car Wash Stadium, while fellow 17-year-old Marlon Stratford was an unused substitute.

And Connor believes Basildon under-18s manager Paul Stringer deserves a lot of credit as a host of exciting youngsters push for a place in the first team.

“We have a very good under-18 squad and Paul Stringer has done well as their manager,” added Connor.

“He has established a great team and it’s good for us because I have always been a believer in having a pathway through to the first team.

“Seeing boys like Luke are given a chance will push them on and it would be great to see more under-18 players making the grade in the first team.”

Ayo Odukoya, Ernest Okoh and Jeffrey Cobblah joined Jackson on the scoresheet, but Connor was not satisfied with the Bees’ performance.

“We were really sloppy at the start of the first half,” admitted Connor.

“We changed the formation to accommodate the young players but it didn’t work and we reverted back to our usual system.

“I thought we conceded a couple of sloppy goals and, although we were better after half-time, I still wasn’t happy with the display.”