CHARLIE Kelman’s first youth team goal saw Southend United secure a 2-2 draw with Northampton Town.

Kelman netted a long range effort three minutes from time to secure a share of the spoils for the Shrimpers at Boots & Laces.

And his equalising effort came following a humorous pre-match chat with youth coach Dave Huzzey.

“Before the game Charlie was asking if he was going to come on and if he was going to get more than five minutes because that’s all he ever got,” said Huzzey.

“He’s quite outspoken but I gave him 12 minutes instead of five so maybe he was right and he deserves a special mention.

“I think this was his fifth appearance and it was great to see him get the goal because he’s another young player we’re all very excited to have at the club.”

The draw kept the Shrimpers second in the league table and left Huzzey with mixed emotions.

“I don’t think we played as well as we could but I was pleased with how the boys dug in and got a point,” said Huzzey.

“It was difficult conditions and Northampton played quite aggressively but they dealt with it and got a draw, which means we’re still putting pressure on MK Dons at the top and it also means we can still win the league.”

Blues had earlier made a poor start to their first game in 2018 as the Cobblers’ James Gillard put them in front after just three minutes.

A superb double save from Shrimpers goalkeeper Harry Seaden then stopped Northampton doubling their lead before the hosts hit back to equalise when Jon Benton’s teasing cross was converted by Emile Acquah.

Northampton regained the lead in the 63rd minute when Sean Whaler volleyed home.

But Kelman’s late effort levelled things up as he netted with an impressive effort from 25 yards.

Both teams came close to scoring a winner late on, with Blues shot-stopper Seaden making another fine save before Kelman saw a deflected effort fly wide of the target.

Southend United U18s: Seaden, Howard, Osimeh, Stewart, Knock, Pianim, Kinali (Kelman 78), Cuthbert (Rush 65), Acquah, Benton, Egbri (Marah 56).

Subs not used: Taylor & Rogers.