SOUTHEND United’s under 23 team coach Kevin Maher was critical of his side’s ‘terrible’ defending in tonight’s 6-5 defeat at Aveley.

Shrimpers striker Norman Wabo bagged a fine hat-trick while attacking midfielder Renei Batlokwa scored a brace.

But their efforts went unrewarded as Aveley capitalised on Blues’ frailties, much to Maher’s disappointment.

“Some of the goals were gave away were terrible,” said Maher.

“They were really bad but lessons will be learnt from playing against a men’s team.

“However, it goes without saying that when you score five goals away from home there’s no way you should be losing.”

And Maher was also full of praise for the Shrimpers’ attacking play.

“We scored some very good goals and Norman getting a hat-trick was the main positive of the night,” said the former Blues midfielder.

“We got back into the game but then threw it away with our bad defending.”

Southend United: Bexon, Howard, Nelson, Knock (Coutts 57), Cotton (Clifford 57), Batlokwa (Kinali 85), Gard, Pianim, Phillips (Cuthbert 85), Ba (Acquah 46), Wabo (Clark 65)