SOUTHEND United's under 19 side ran in four unanswered second-half goals to overturn a two-goal interval deficit in a 5-3 victory over Woking this afternoon.

Tom Dryer put the Cardinals in front midway through the first half, and he restored Woking’s lead shortly after an own goal by Ethan Gold had made it 1-1.

Lui Edwards added a third for the hosts just before the break, but Mikey Faulkner’s superb strike pulled one goal back before Jack Stone equalised from the penalty spot.

Obi Okafor and Piers Hatcliff then completed the comeback late on to earn praise from boss Danny Heath.

“I thought it was another very good performance by the boys, especially after the level of performance they showed against Bromley last week,” said Heath.

“The challenge for them, as a minimum, was to be as good as that again.

2In the second half, I felt we put in a better performance than last week so I’m really pleased, and they can be pleased as well.”

Southend threatened for the first time after a quarter-of-an-hour when Faulkner sprung George Pulham away on the right and he centred for Okafor, who allowed the ball to run, only for Alex Rihoy to dispossess Ronnie Blake. 

But the Cardinals edged in front on 23 minutes through Dryer, who did well to charge down a Jake Huet clearance.

That set him free of the Blues back-line, with only midfielder Aidon Shehu tracking him back, but he held off the first-year scholar before steering his finish into the bottom left-hand corner of the net.

Two minutes later, Blues had drawn level in fortuitous circumstances.

Skipper Huet stepped into midfield and attempted to deliver a pass for Faulkner.

At first it looked as through the midfielder had sent a shot towards goal, but instead it was the boot of defender Gold that sent the ball swinging back towards Harry White, who misjudged an awkward bounce and scooped the ball over his shoulder into his own goal.

Parity lasted less than 60 seconds as Woking moved 2-1 ahead straight from the restart.

A long ball down the left-hand side found Dryer, who danced through the Southend defence before dribbling past Luke Cerullo and tapping into an empty net.

Brittain fired wide at the end of another dangerous move for the hosts, but the teenage Shrimpers were denied a leveller by the crossbar on 32 minutes when Blake cut across a half-volley on the edge of the penalty area and the ball bounced back off the frame of the goal.

Tyrese Sibanda also saw an effort charged down by a defender, but Woking stretched their lead with five minutes of the first half remaining when Mitchell’s square pass from the right-hand side of the penalty area found Edwards and he squeezed his finish beyond Cerullo.

Edwards skewed a right-footed shot wide of the near post following another Mitchell pass two minutes later, and Dryer nodded over from a Rihoy corner deep into injury time, but Blues also enjoyed an excellent chance to score when Faulkner pierced the Woking back-line with his pass and Pulham’s left-footed attempt was smothered by White.

However, Southend dominated the early stages of the second half.

Sibanda drilled a shot into the gloves of White on 47 minutes before Faulkner flashed wide and Okafor saw an effort cleared off the goal-line after Ellis Lawson’s cross had been pushed into his path.

Blues eventually halved the deficit just after the hour mark. Shehu’s pass was the catalyst, with Pulham moving the ball on to Sibanda, who in turn picked out Faulkner a little over 20 yards out.

His right-footed shot eluded White and arced into the net via the inside of the right-hand post.

Within seconds Southend had almost grabbed an equaliser.

Sibanda found Okafor and his strike was curled narrowly around the post and, although Dryer’s effort was deflected wide for Woking on 63 minutes, Pulham stabbed wide at the far post and Blake volleyed over before Faulkner was brilliantly denied by White.

A double substitution on 70 minutes saw Hatcliff and Stone introduced for Lawson and Blake and, as he had a week earlier, Stone made an instant impression, this time earning a penalty after being bundled over by Tom Gardner.

He brushed himself down to smash the spot-kick into the bottom right-hand corner of the net.

Parity lasted just a couple of minutes on this occasion, and this time it was Southend that moved into the ascendancy.

The outstanding Sibanda tested White from 25 yards out and, when the goalkeeper lost possession, Okafor was on hand to turn home the loose ball from close range.

Stone side-footed wide from a Hatcliff cross, but there was some anxiety for Blues as Cerullo was forced to make an excellent save from Dryer, preventing a hat-trick by diverting his finish past the left-hand post.

Huet then sliced a clearance over his own crossbar before Gardner steered his shot over from another Rihoy corner.

Stone sent a shot straight at White before Hatcliff contributed the final goal of the game with a little over 60 seconds remaining of the regulation 90 minutes.

A skidding shot from distance was again misjudged by White, with the ball creeping underneath the goalkeeper to make it 5-3.

But Heath wants Blues to keep their standards high.

“In terms of the consistency of performance, something the boys have got to learn from is the league table," said Heath.

"Where we are at the moment could be a relegation place, and when your job is dependent on it and you’ve got bills to pay, that could cost people their jobs.”

“The learning curve is that, if they’d performed as well as they have in this game all season, which they have done at times but without getting the results, we’d be in a better position.

"When you step up into the first-team, that’s when results really count.

"On the day we were better than Woking, and I felt they were one of the better teams we’ve played this season.

Southend United U19s: Cerullo, Huet, Shobowale, Shehu, Molefi, Lawson (Hatcliff 70), Pulham, Sibanda (Jackson 90),Okafor (Bragg, 90), Faulkner,  Blake (Stone 70).

Sub not used: Brown.